Wikipedia:Village pump (policy)

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RFC: spelling of "organisation"/"organization" in descriptive category names[edit]

The following discussion is an archived record of a request for comment. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
I am closing this discussion as there is minimal further discussion and no obvious consensus. This is evidenced by the fact that it has been going on from April to September, re-opened twice, and sent to the the Administrator's noticeboard for review. In summary I am closing this as no consensus, with no prejudice against speedy renomination. I would encourage everyone interested to read the Administrator's noticeboard review summary. If this RfC gets re-run I would strongly encourage it to be advertised widely and all relevant stakeholders informed as per the recommendation. - Master Of Ninja (talk) 07:26, 8 September 2019 (UTC)

The following discussion is an archived record of a request for comment. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion. A summary of the conclusions reached follows.
This is a close, complicated by allegations of votestacking, which might, in itself, be reason for finding "no consensus". The OP has premised this as a means to resolve conflict/disruption as a systemic/ongoing issue. They note that the guidelines (RETAIN and ENGVAR) that normally resolve these issues do not explicitly apply to categories. I have looked for a "weight" of arguement to support or oppose the proposition that the solution is to stanardiz[s]e on a particular spelling in categories (as opposed to !votes). The most compelling arguements are to embrace our differences. Perhaps this might be done in a more formal way and make this explicit to categories (CREEP to avoid CREEP - irony). Regards, Cinderella157 (talk) 12:06, 20 June 2019 (UTC)

 Administrator note:: This RfC was closed on 17 April 2019, and reopened after editors suggested the same at Wikipedia:Village pump (proposals)#Further discussion of recent RfC on organisation vs organization. Lourdes 07:31, 18 April 2019 (UTC) Should all Wikipedia categories which use the word "organisation"/"organization" as part of a descriptive name per WP:NDESC be standardized to use the "Z" spelling, i.e. "organization" rather than "organisation"?

Note that this proposal does not apply to proper names, such as Category:International Labour Organization, which should use the name selected per WP:Article titles for the title of the head article. It applies only to the descriptive category titles invented by Wikipedia editors per WP:NDESC, such as Category:Agricultural organizations based in the Caribbean, Category:Organizations established in the 19th century, Category:Religious organizations by faith or belief, Category:Sports organisations of Ireland, and Category:Paramilitary organisations based in the United Kingdom. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 19:57, 4 April 2019 (UTC)

Extended explanation[edit]

This question may sound like trivial pedantry, but Category:Organizations has about ten thousand descriptively-named sub-categories. Those are inconsistently named, and therefore generate a steady stream of renaming proposals at WP:CFD.

Per WP:NCCAT, category names should "follow certain conventions", but there is no clear convention here; no single principle (or even agreed set of principles) defining which spelling to use. This makes the category system hard to use and hard to maintain, because it is difficult to predict which spelling is in use in each case

Over the years, these categories have been the subject of numerous renaming discussions, and several are open now. Several well-established principles are applied, but they are often fuzzy or conflicting, and they produce varying outcomes depending on the good faith interpretations of the experienced editors involved. Many categories have been renamed multiple times.

  1. MOS:TIES recommends that for English-speaking nations, we should use the (formal, not colloquial) English of that nation.
    • It is often hard to determine which (if any) usage is preferred in any given country
    • There is disagreement about whether the "S" spelling is actually the clearly-preferred option in any national variant of English
  2. MOS:RETAIN advocates that the initial version should be retained in the absence of consensus to the contrary.
  3. Geography. No policy appears to cover usage in non-English-speaking nations, so editors apply in good faith a variety of well-reasoned principles which produce different outcomes, e.g.
    A/ Countries which are geographically closer to the UK than the US should use the British spelling, and vice-versa
    B/ Commonwealth countries (i.e. the former British Empire) should follow British spelling.
    • Those two principles clash for the many former British colonies in the Americas
    • There is legitimate dispute about the extent to which British usage persists 50 years after independence

These inconsistencies create clashes of principle. If MOS:RETAIN is applied, then each container category ends up with a random assortment of spellings, depending on the choice of the creator.

However, most categories for organisations are intersections of two or more category trees, e.g.* Category:Sports organisations of Iran is an intersection of Category:Organizations by type and Category:Organizations by country.

Taking that example: if we apply MOS:TIES, we get inconsistent titles in Category:Sports organizations by country, e.g. Category:Sports organisations of Mozambique/Category:Sports organizations of the Comoros.

On the other hand, if we apply consistency across Category:Sports organizations by country, that creates inconsistencies with MOS:TIES-derived names for the country categories. e.g. if Category:Sports organisations of Mozambique was renamed to use "Z", then that would clash with the grandparent Category:Organisations based in Mozambique.

In CFD discussions, the main argument for standardisation is that per American and British English spelling differences#-ise,_-ize_(-isation,_-ization), some British usage prefers the "S" spelling, bit there is no overall preference ... and that while the "S" spelling" is unacceptable in American usage, the "Z" spelling is acceptable variant in all countries.

On the other side, arguments against standardisation prioritise MOS:TIES, and assert that "S" is the standard British usage. They note how ENGVAR variations are accepted in other types of category. One example of this is Category:Association football players, whose subcategories variously use "association football players", "footballers" or "soccer players", depending on local usage. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 19:58, 4 April 2019 (UTC)

Organizations: Discussion/survey[edit]

add your comments and/or !votes here
  • Use "z". I'm British, and use both spellings interchangeably. In some parts of the English-speaking world only "z" is correct, but in others both "s" and "z" are correct. I don't know of anywhere where "z" is incorrect. I must add that it's very tiresome that we have to even discuss this, but there are certain editors who seem to like arguing for arguing's sake. Phil Bridger (talk) 20:27, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Couldn't category redirects solve tis without renaming anything? If the answer apears to be "no they can't" then I agree with every word of the above comment by Phil Bridger. Beeblebrox (talk) 21:28, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
    • Categories use WP:soft redirects (see Example), unlike e.g. lists which use hard redirects; while these can reduce the problem, they require an extra click. – Fayenatic London 22:15, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
  • @Beeblebrox, two years ago I thought that redirects might be a partial solution (with the limitation which @Fayenatic notes), provided that there was a bot to apply them in all instances, on an ongoing basis. So I proposed the bot, at Wikipedia:Bots/Requests for approval/BHGbot 3, and there were so many niggles that I gave up. (The bot was approved for a trial run, but there were strong objections to making it an open-ended task, which is exactly what would be needed for the bot to solve the problem).
That's why I have come around to the view that we should fix the problem at source by abandoning the pretence that British English has such a strong preference for the "s" spelling that we shouldn't use Z in any topic relating to the former British Empire other than in the United States. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 22:18, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Don't standardize. Personally, I use British English with a "z", but I don't think it is good idea to bow to the consistency zealots on this. They'd only find something more serious to worry about. Johnbod (talk) 21:37, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
    • If there is continuing conflict without standardization, "don't standardize" is the wrong solution. There might be some reasonable middle ground toward standardization and away from conflict, but a basic non-vote definitely isn't it. --Izno (talk) 22:11, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use z. I'm British and use "s" in my personal and professional writing, but it is often inconvenient in Wikipedia that the spelling of categories for orgs is unpredictable. Using the Oxford spelling with the "z" is not un-British anyway. We already use the non-French "z" spelling for France (see CFD in 2017 closed by me) and various other countries in Europe/Commonwealth. Let's take it all the way. – Fayenatic London 22:15, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
    • I am prepared to make exceptions for Australia and New Zealand. NZ apparently uses -ise; these sources are not best quality but IMHO suffice to demonstrate that point.[1][2][3] However, other former colonies are not so evidently wedded to the "s" spellings. Let's switch to "z" in UK, British Overseas Territories, Europe, Asia, S America, the Caribbean, and the remainder of Oceania. – Fayenatic London 08:52, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Support - organize was good enough for Samuel Johnson and so it is good enough for me (in the UK). The Americans have in this case adhered to correct classical English. Oculi (talk) 22:17, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use z. I agree with the observations of both Phil Bridger and Oculi. And if something is correct everywhere, it ought to take precedence over one national preference. Now the consistency folks can worry about why Category:Television shows by country rolls up to Category:Television programs where "shows" is correct wherever English is used but the spelling of program/programme may differ. Cheers, Carlossuarez46 (talk) 23:33, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
  • On the point of commonality, do see MOS:COMMONALITY. --Izno (talk) 23:42, 4 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use "z", since it is considered acceptable in British English (unless I've been doing it wrong all this time). Jc86035 (talk) 09:38, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Don't standardise. Continue to use "s" in countries that predominantly use "s" (like the UK, Australia and New Zealand). It's very rare to see "z" in the UK outside Oxford these days. We don't change other category names for consistency, so I have no idea why we'd want to here. It is clear from the media, from previous WP discussions and from usage in WP articles by British editors that "s" is now greatly preferred in the UK. -- Necrothesp (talk) 10:21, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
    • @Necrothesp, your statement that we don't change other category names for consistency is plain false. On the contrary, large numbers of category names are changed for consistency every single day. Most weeks, several hundred categories are renamed for consistency at WP:CFDS per WP:C2B, WP:C2C, or WP:C2D ... while new consistent conventions are repeatedly established at full CFD discussions.
It's also clear that you well know that statement to be false, because you yourself have made plenty of CFDS nominations on the basis of consistency. including [4], [5], [6], [7], [8]. That's only a small sample, and it is very sad to see an admin asserting as fact something which they have demonstrably known for many years to be untrue.
The reason we seek consistency, as you clearly well know, is that inconsistent titling is confusing for both readers and editors. You also do huge numbers of article moves on that very basis per the policy WP:CONSISTENCY (part of WP:Article titles), and as noted above the same principle applies to categories: see WP:NCCAT.
In this case, we have policy on what to do: MOS:COMMONALITY says "For an international encyclopaedia, using vocabulary common to all varieties of English is preferable: Use universally accepted terms rather than those less widely distributed, especially in titles". In this case, the Z spelling is a universally accepted variant, even if it is not universally preferred ... whereas the "S" spelling is not acceptable in American English. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 12:11, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
You misunderstand me. As usual, it appears. We do not change category titles for consistency in WP:ENGVAR circumstances. We may change them for consistency in non-ENGVAR circumstances if it is uncontroversial, yes. This is a different issue. And despite claims to the contrary, this is an ENGVAR issue, as "z" is indeed very rarely used these days in British English. -- Necrothesp (talk) 12:54, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
No, Necrothesp, I did not misunderstand you. I correctly understood the clear meaning of what you actually wrote, which now turns out to be radically different from what you now claim you intended to say. Please do not misrepresent your change of assertion as someone else's failure to understand.
As to ENGVAR, for over a century the leading dictionary of British English has been the Oxford English Dictionary, which continues to recommend the "Z" spelling as the preferred form. Are you really, seriously, trying to claim that OED's recommendation is not an acceptable usage in British English? Really? --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 13:09, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
@BrownHairedGirl, FWIW the OED is now the last part of Oxford clinging on to Oxford spelling; even Oxford University itself has deprecated its use ‑ Iridescent 22:36, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Our present policy wastes a great deal of editors' time and effort. It doesn't produce consistent results. Consistency in country subcategories is achieved at the expense of inconsistency in all the other hierarchies. Consistency would increase our efficiency and enable us to quibble about things that are more important. There is nowhere where spelling organization with a z is wrong. The problem really is that in the UK it is seen, quite mistakenly, as American linguistic imperialism.Rathfelder (talk) 12:40, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
    • No, it's merely seen as uncommon in the present day. An archaic usage preserved by Oxford but not much elsewhere. -- Necrothesp (talk) 12:57, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support "z" - Barring specific cases where a proper name using "Organisation" is involved, the more inclusive "organization" should be used in all other cases. It is clear that this has been an ongoing issue that repeatedly comes up and it will save everyone's time in the long run to make this a standard convention. The fact that one spelling ("z") is acceptable (if not preferred) globally and the other is unacceptable in large parts of the world makes this change an obviously better convention over the current hodge-podge of MOS:RETAIN-based random spellings or multiple CFDs to attempt to meet MOS:TIES. I think BrownHairedGirl has made a very compelling argument and I haven't (yet?) seen any substantive argument against it. - PaulT+/C 14:11, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Don't standarise per Necrothesp. There's no reason to change the status quo here, and Oxford is not an authority for the whole of British English (and definitely isn't for Australian or New Zealand English, where -ise is strongly preferred). IffyChat -- 14:30, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
    • Also, this is NOT a commonality issue, many parts of the world primarily use 's', just as much as many areas use 'z'. This isn't the American english Wikipedia, it's the English language wikipedia for all users of the English language. IffyChat -- 08:23, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Slightly alternate proposal: Use "z" but create a preference setting where editors who want to see the word spelled with an "s" in category names can see it that way. bd2412 T 14:54, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • @BD2412 I appreciate the quest for a solution which gives as many people as possible most of what they want. That's a good approach throughout life.
So I have no objection in principle to that idea, but is it technically feasible? I know that much wizardry can be achieved by AJAX, but even if some cunning code could change the displayed spelling of category titles as they appear at the bottom of an article or at the top of a category page, how would it distinguish between descriptive titles and proper names, so that it converted Category:Sports organizations of Estonia but not Category:International Labour Organization or Category:Organization of American States?
Readers might like this, but it would cause problems for editors, who would never see the actual title of the category, and be mystified why tyoing in the "S" spelling produced a redlink. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 15:23, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
My initial thoughts on this would be that 1) some kind of tag would need to be put on formal names to prevent them from showing up with the "s" spelling, if we care to do that, and 2) irrespective of the outcome of this discussion, there should be a category redirect pointing from the "s" spelling to the "z" spelling. When using hotcat, at least, this will change the input to the correct category. bd2412 T 15:36, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
So who gets the job of tagging all the relevant categories, and maintaining those tags? As the Pages per ActiveEditor ratio continues to grow, we need fewer of those maintenance tasks, not more.
As to redirects, yes I agree. As I noted above in reply to Beeblebrox, I tried two years ago to create a bot to do just that, but the BRFA got drowned in nitpicking so I gave up.
I do think that Phil Bridger's reminder of the fate of the time/date preference thing is worth remembering. It was all just seen as too much complexity for too little benefit. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 16:52, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
Before going too far with that proposal I would remind editors that we used to do something similar with dates in articles, where they were presented in dmy or mdy format in accordance with a preference. That system was done away with - here is one discussion but I'm sure there were more - for reasons that could also be applicable to this proposal. Phil Bridger (talk) 15:59, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use 'z' except in countries where 'z' is plain wrong (perhaps Australia and New Zealand?). Marcocapelle (talk) 16:36, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support "z" I do a lot of work on organizational categories. Our present policy wastes a lot of my time and energy. It prioritises consistency by country over consistency by subject, for no obvious reason, even where English is not a native language in the country concerned. Personally I have been using s for about 55 years, even though I was brought up to revere the Oxford English Dictionary, but I think the importance of consistency should outweigh personal preference I . Rathfelder (talk) 17:26, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose standardisation z these days is a variant, not the standard modern spelling in British English with the OED and related publishing house very much fighting a losing battle on this. In other countries z is used even less. Whatever is done there will be inconsistency as there are numerous main articles and lists using s, to say nothing of other cases where different spellings and terms are in use (programmes/programs/shows has already come up) so trying to impose a global consistency just isn't going settle things. Timrollpickering (Talk) 18:14, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use “z” per MOS:COMMONALITY, Z would be preferred because it is accepted intenationally and S is not. —pythoncoder (talk | contribs) 19:30, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use "z" Standardization helps, it's categorization. It is WP:COMMONSENSE to use what's more common. --QEDK () 20:06, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Don't standardise. I don't see this as a problem, and "z" is not acceptable in Australian (or I presume NZ) English. Frickeg (talk) 21:29, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
    • @Frickeg, do you have any actual evidence that the "Z" spelling is not an acceptable variation in Australian English? Sorry to be a where's-the-WP:RS pedant, but in countless CFD discussions I have seen many confident assertions of national preferences in spelling, but there is almost never any evidence offered. Please can you fill the gap, and be the one who actually provides the sources which support your claim that "Z" spelling is never an acceptable variation in Australia? Thanks. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 22:02, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
      • The Macquarie Dictionary, the closest thing to an authority here, says (paywalled) "Current Australian usage clearly favours consistent use of -ise". Although Macquarie does list "-ize" as a variant (perhaps "not acceptable" was an overstatement, but "very rarely used" is certainly true; Macquarie also lists practically all US spellings as variants, which doesn't mean they're generally acceptable in AusEng), I have been unable to find a single Australian style guide that allows "-ize", and you will practically never see it in Australian publications. It is clearly recognised as an Americanism, and even if there is some doubt about the common British usage, there really isn't for us. I see no reason why WP:TIES would not apply, and WP:RETAIN when we are talking multi-national categories. Frickeg (talk) 23:38, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Thanks @Frickeg. Would you be ale to quote the rest of the entry? The actual wording is important to the application of MOS:COMMONALITY, and your paraphrasing raises a few questions for me.
As to WP:RETAIN, it is a disastrous principle to apply to any category set and esp large sets, because it produces random outcomes across category trees. That makes it hard for editors to add categories, hard for readers to type them, and massively complicates all sorts of maintenance and templating functions. That's why so many categories of all types are renamed very day per WP:C2C. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 00:43, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
  • The entirety of the entry "-ise": "a suffix of verbs having the following senses: 1. intransitively, of following some line of action, practice, policy, etc., as in Atticise, apologise, economise, theorise, tyrannise, or of becoming (as indicated), as crystallise and oxidise (intr.), and 2. transitively, of acting towards or upon, treating, or affecting in a particular way, as in baptise, colonise, or of making or rendering (as indicated), as in civilise, legalise. Compare -ism, -ist. Also, -ize. [from (often directly) Greek -izein. Compare French -iser, German -isieren, etc.] Usage: -ize is the usual spelling in US English. In Britain there is some variety: some publishers standardise on -ize, but others use -ise. Attempts to distinguish -ize in words based on Greek (idolize, monopolize) from -ise in words that have come to English from or through French (realise, moralise) founder on the difficulties of knowing the precise history of many words. Current Australian usage clearly favours consistent use of -ise, a practice which has the advantage of being easy to remember." Frickeg (talk) 03:20, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Many thanks, @Frickeg. That's a clear recommendation of "ise", but not an outright deprecation of "ize". That would certainly support using "organisation" in articles ... but in category titles, which are navigational devices rather than enyclopedic content, it seems to me that MOS:COMMONALITY justifies using the non-preferred spelling. This isn't a petrol/gasoline issue, where one usage is clearly deprecated. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 21:10, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use "z" - Just for fun, I did a survey of usage on Belizean news sites. Belize is a Commonwealth country, but geographically close to the U.S. I expected usage to be about even, but usage of "organization" was 34 times higher than "organisation"! I would be OK with leaving a specific exception for UK-related categories, but overall it seems like "organization" is the more internationally-prominent spelling. Kaldari (talk) 22:27, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Alternate Proposal - use z for all categories except in the country where s is the clear choice - and I'd suggest a discrete list be created of these (UK, NZ, Australia are primary). This will at least shrink the issue - where it's an either/or, or any of these geographical proximity cases, they default to z. It won't quite resolve the issue, but I think it's an improvement that will avoid most of the likely blowback from fellow s-speakers. Nosebagbear (talk) 22:46, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • @Nosebagbear, I'd very much prefer simple standardisation, but I think that your proposal could provide some limited improvement if this RFC agreed an actual list of which countries fall into that category. Without that definitive list, we would effectively have no change; we would still face the same CFD debates over and over again about which if any is the preferred usage in Ruritania (see e.g. the CFR debate on Organizations based in Oman). I appreciate what you are trying to achieve by changing the default, but it still risks an ongoing saga of many dozens of case-by-case debates. So I think that proposal would have more chance of meaningful assessment if there was some actual evidence for the claimed clear preference for "S" usage in NZ+Australia, and in any other country which editors want to list. As I note above, these discussions are overwhelmingly dominated by assertions rather than evidence, but the sincere indignation which often accompanies the objections is nearly always unevidenced. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 23:42, 5 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use z unless the content categorized is predominantly using s. That is, default to z which is acceptable in every ENGVAR, but retain s for local WP:CONSISTENCY if all or most articles in the category are non-North American and (not "or") are also using the s spellings in their content and (where applicable) titles. E.g., a "Category:Animal rights organisations in England" category should likely not move to the z spelling, but "Category:Animal rights organisations" certainly should be (and is) at Category:Animal rights organizations, for MOS:COMMONALITY reasons. The z spelling is preferred even in British academic writing (and an encyclopedia is basically academic writing), so z is a sensible default for multiple reasons.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  00:50, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
I see several problems with that:
  1. It would lead to inconsistencies within the category tree for each country, which would be even worse than the current mess
  2. It would make category titles unstable, because as articles are created or deleted or recategorised the balance would change
  3. Assessing it would require a lot of editor time, but editor time is increasingly scarce: the ratio of articles per active editor is almost 4 time what it in 2007, and participation in CFD discussions is at ~5—15% of the levels in 2006. There is a persistent, multi-month backlog of CFD closures. However nice it might theoretically be to have such fine-grained decisions, we simply don't have the resources to sustain them.
We need a simple solution which creates stable outcomes, and where mistitled pages can be identified with the help of tools such as AWB and Petscan. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 01:54, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
I don't see 1 as a real problem. There will always be inconsistencies, unless Oxford/Harvard spelling is made mandatory on Wikipedia for everything, which isn't going to happen (though it's a proposal I would support for the same reason I supported MOS:JR getting rid of the comma that some older Americans still prefer). Not concerned about 2, either. It's already a criterion (a speedy one, in fact) that category names are to align with article names, so it's already just a fact that they'll shift over time as the mainspace content changes; this is a dynamic site. But the rate of change of s/z stuff is barely detectable, anyway, so there's not really much potential for churn. I'm not sure how much editor time would be consumed, per point 3, but it's something we already do at CfD anyway, about lots of things. It only consumes the time of editors who choose to spend a lot of it at CfD, like you and I do, and we're pretty good at recognizing patterns and getting on with our !votes. If we had a rule like this, it should produce one outburst of category renaming activity, then remarkable stability after that: defaulting to z, unless there's a compelling and demonstrable reason to use s for a particular case. I'm "optimizing for the probable rather than the possible" here; there is no limit in the imagination to what could be possible, but we know from experience that most British topics, for example, are going to use the s spelling, so we can already predict how British-specific categories are going to be spelled. If we default to z for stuff with no national tie, then we can also predict how the majority of categories will be spelled, absent some overwhelming cluster of s-titled articles within one.  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  01:41, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use "z" - Our categorization system should not be a endless battleground for nationalistic emotions or editorial ownership, but to serve as an internal system by which we order pages. As such, having a consistent style which makes life easier (and faster) for readers and editors, and will save time wasted in category discussions, is much better goal than any variation of the current system. Also editor supporter statements above me. --Gonnym (talk) 19:51, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use "zed" (or "zee" if you like) As a bit of a traditional Brit, I support Oxford spelling which prescribes -ize endings and hence avoids transatlantic conflict. Not sure on Australian / New Zealand / Indian usage though. Greenshed (talk) 20:02, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use "z" – Though "s" may be more common in the UK, that's like 60 million people compared to 1.5 billion English speakers. Z is more global, used either primarily or as an acceptable variant in almost all if not all English-speaking countries. Standardization is a good idea for consistency, readability, searchability, and reducing the needless category renaming. Levivich 22:07, 6 April 2019 (UTC)
    • India, Australia and New Zealand all use 's' primarily, and so do most English speakers in Europe and Africa, It's not just Britain. IffyChat -- 08:23, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
      • @Iffy, do you have any actual evidence from reliable sources to support your assertion that most English speakers in Europe and Africa use 's' primarily? I don't mean some cherrypicked example, but some evidence of the claimed pattern of usage. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 09:21, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use "z". When I use HotCat to put articles in categories it is a nuisance to have two seperate alphabetical lists. And my copy of the Collins Paperback German Dictionary, 1988 edition, only lists Organization in the English side. It tells me that Organisation is the German spelling. Bigwig7 (talk) 12:21, 7 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use only one, this is a direct presentation to readers, so having 2 content categories for a spelling variant isn't useful. I prefer the "z" option slightly, as there seem to be more sources with that variant. — xaosflux Talk 18:59, 7 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Mostly use "z" - except for English-speaking countries where "s" is more common, use "z" everywhere. It's more intuitive, although this doesn't override the ENGVAR principle to use the local spelling. עוד מישהו Od Mishehu 15:22, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Standardise on "z", with the exception for names involving "s". I'm normally one for letting people use whatever spelling they feel is appropriate, but this seems like a reasonable case for standardisation, and as noted, there are very few contexts in which "z" is actively wrong rather than merely not-preferred. Andrew Gray (talk) 19:07, 8 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use "z", except in official names of organisations (sic). My initial idea was to use "z" for all non-specific categories and "s" for categories specific to regions that use that spelling, but it might be too hard to determine for non-English-speaking countries. We'd waste a lot of time arguing over individual countries, like Russia where usage can be quite split. -- King of ♠ 04:40, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Z per many good !votes above, starting with Phil Bridger. Jonathunder (talk) 20:33, 9 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use "z" When it comes to global categories like this standardization is far more important than ENGVAR. And I say that as one who has always spelled organisations with an S. Harry Boardman (talk) 13:06, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use "z", except when referring to a proper name. A convincing cost benefit case has be made for more uniform and predictable categories. A Google comparison of hits for the two spellings shows a 76% dominance for the Z spelling, and I came across a graph showing that Z is dominant in the UK by a 2-to-1 ratio and apparently increasing. Australians and some others may not be happy, but they surely are familiar with the predominate US/UK spelling. At least they will find that Wikipedia consistently has the "wrong" spelling, rather than having to deal with it being chaotically wrong. Alsee (talk) 14:32, 12 April 2019 (UTC)
    Followup comment: Regarding WP:ENGVAR, there is a big difference between articles and categories. Individual articles can happily co-exist with different ENGVARs, however categories are encyclopedia-wide and a category naming must be done (as best we can) from an encyclopedia-wide perspective. WP:ENGVAR does not apply to categories, and I reject slippery slope arguments that this proposal is a threat to article content. The opposes are making a very poor argument that unpredictably and inexplicably confusing the majority is somehow preferable over predictability and minimizing the issue. I also urge the closer to take into account Closing discussions#How to determine the outcome that consensus is not determined by counting heads, and the fact that there was an abrupt surge of oppose-votes after this discussion was selectively canvassed. That surge in opposes is clearly not an accurate reflection of general community consensus, and canvassed responses should be weighted accordingly. For comparison, I closed a 20-vs-10 RFC[9] with a firm consensus for the 10, after almost entirely discounting the majority as blatantly canvassed. In this case the result is easier - I believe there is still a majority for Z even with the canvassed responses. Alsee (talk) 22:31, 8 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Do not enforce spelling. "ize" endings are not acceptable in New Zealand English, and Wikipedia is never going to be 100% consistent (unless we throw out WP:TIES and WP:ENGVAR, which is way beyond the scope of this proposal).-gadfium 03:42, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
    Can you produce evidence that "ize" endings are not acceptable in New Zealand English? Rathfelder (talk) 12:48, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
    I'll bet money the answer is "no". NZ doesn't have any NZ-specific style guides from a reputable publisher. NZ writers follow British style guides, like almost everyone in the rest of the Commonwealth, aside from Canada. Even Australia does (the government-published style guide is obsolete and generally ignored, and the Cambridge style guide for .au is simply the British one with some Australian vocabulary added, and Oxford doesn't make one for .au in particular, nor does any other publisher we'd care about).  — SMcCandlish ¢ 😼  01:46, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Wikipedia:Manual of Style doesnt really help in this discussion. It's directed at articles, not categories. Rathfelder (talk) 12:48, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Support a common-sense standardization that will free up editor time for more important things. MB 15:54, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use "z". I agree with OP arguments, and find opposing comments ineffective. Years back, the article Theater (Amer Eng) was moved to Theatre (Brit Eng) based on the fact that Americans sometimes spell it the British way, so MOS:COMMONALITY overrides RETAIN. The same argument is works here: Americans use only one spelling, but British use both, undermining any TIES argument. RETAIN is a fall-back position used when nothing else can reach consensus. Now, in all the many thousands of categories, I suspect there may be a very few specific exceptions that can be made, but I believe that for "Organization", COMMONALITY trumps RETAIN, and these should all use "z" to avoid the great majority of pointless future category spelling discussions, and let a new separate special discussion/RFC can started for the very few that somehow "must" use "s". --A D Monroe III(talk) 17:16, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  • It's possible that in New Zealand, or some other part of the English-speaking world, "z" is regarded as incorrect, but is anyone really offended by its use? I, as a Brit, do not get offended when I read an Indian or American book in English that doesn't always use the same grammar or spelling that I use myself, but simply, if I notice it at all, treat it as part of life's rich tapestry. Surely we have more important things to concern ourselves about? Phil Bridger (talk) 17:50, 13 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose per WP:CREEP, WP:ENGVAR and MOS:TIES. The category system is broken and needs replacing with a more sensible system of attributes which can be combined freely rather than being constrained into an arbitrary tree. A better system would provide for synonyms and that's a better way of handling such variation. I'd expect this to emerge as WikiData becomes more established and we can then discard the categories. Andrew D. (talk) 22:15, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use "z" - "z" is accepted almost everywhere. When categorizing articles, it's tiresome to guess which spelling a specific category uses. Standardization to the most common spelling is the best solution. -Zanhe (talk) 23:18, 14 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - WP:CREEP, WP:ENGVAR and MOS:TIES are pretty clear in this regard. Unless we're going to go down the same route Wikidata have taken - treating US English and UK English as different languages, and therefore setting up a whole new Wikipedia project for one or other of them, then let's continue to be inclusive and stick to the existing guidelines. WaggersTALK 11:43, 15 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use Z because category names need to be predictable and standardized to serve some of their controlled-vocabulary purposes, and thus should be considered all part of a single document for the purposes of ENGVAR. EllenCT (talk) 07:48, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I'm a non-native speaker and use both. I personally don't care either way, nor see the need to standardize/standardise. —TheDJ (talkcontribs) 07:50, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use z, in deference to the wishes of England's future monarch.[10] Thincat (talk) 08:07, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Do not standardise WP:CREEP, WP:ENGVAR and MOS:TIES, as cited by others, are convincing and clear. We shouldn't be forcing editors to use what are considered clear misspellings in some countries. If we were to standardise then it should be to international English but I wouldn't support that as that would be considered incorrect in the US. --AussieLegend () 10:05, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose I though we had WP:ENGVAR and MOS:TIES precisely to prevent this kind of direspect to linguistic norms in other countries. It is "organisation" in Australian English. Kerry (talk) 10:21, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Do not standardise per WP:ENGVAR. Or if you really must pick one, use 's'. ;-) Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 11:20, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • "The Manual of Style (MoS or MOS) is the style manual for all English Wikipedia articles." Categories are not articles. Oculi (talk) 11:26, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • @Oculi: "The English Wikipedia prefers no national variety of the language over any other." I don't see a need to distinguish between categories and articles here. Thanks. Mike Peel (talk) 15:53, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - use "s" or "z" according to the relevant variety of English. Aoziwe (talk) 13:48, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use Z - As we are talking about categories - a Wikipedia-based navigation structure - we should simply use the spelling most often used in English as a whole. MOS:ENGVAR is an article prose guideline - it does not strictly apply to categories of Wikipedia origin. As has been pointed out, some countries use "s" predominantly, but its often inconsistent and seems to be on a decline. In fact, Google Ngrams limited to "British English" only shows a "z" dominance. The key, though, is that "z" is recognizable by almost everyone. This is a default, and exceptions may be allowed for categories with strong WP:TIES, but editors would need to demonstrate with strong evidence "S" is dominant for that category's topic area. To accomplish that, I would say we hold at least 3 sub-RFCs after this one to determine specifically the S/Z question for UK-, Australia-, and NZ-related categories - perhaps held on their respective WikiProjects. Evidence, not anecdotes must be presented. -- Netoholic @ 14:35, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Do not standardise per WP:CREEP, WP:ENGVAR and MOS:TIES. Number 57 19:08, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Use S - This is English Wikipedia and we should be using the standard spelling in England/Britain. Z is American, and since the British have colonised almost every country in the world, we should be using the Queen's English, not American English, unless the organisation in question spells its name with a Z. To use the American spelling here would be pushing for the American spelling rather than traditional British spelling. Despite their super power status, America did not colonised the world, and most English speaking countries especially in Africa use British spelling, not American spelling. E.g. colonised (and not colonized), organised (not organized), organisation (not organization), capitalised (not capitalized), etc. The English language came from England, not America. So let's use the traditional spelling in England. Failing that, let's not standardised but leave it up to individual editors.Tamsier (talk) 20:29, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose – use "s" or "z" as per relevant ties in the subject area. Cavalryman V31 (talk) 20:42, 18 April 2019 (UTC).
  • Oppose -- No change Roger 8 Roger (talk) 21:10, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose -- I'm not persuaded that we need a one-off micro-exception to ENGVAR just for categories. Though ENGVAR has its rough edges, it has kept relative peace for more than a decade. Keeping category names tidy doesn't seem like enough benefit. --Trovatore (talk) 21:21, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Weak support for stanardizing but don't care if it's s or z. Can we start making deals? Maybe America agrees to concede ou/o (colour) and ll/l (travelled) in exchange for s/z? Or we could hold an ENGVAR draft! :) — Rhododendrites talk \\ 21:40, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose as written: Lets not be confrontational about something that has been pretty well settled for at least a decade, if not longer. There is little to be gained by this proposal. Can't ReDirects from one spelling to another be set up rather than, as one person above alluded to, setting up two separate language wikis? I'm American, by the way, and I cannot support, per WP:ENGVAR and MOS:TIES. Think about it. GenQuest "Talk to Me" 21:43, 18 April 2019 (UTC)
  • comment unlike a spelling like 'color', the use of '~ize' is a regional affectation. A support vote suggested it would be "fun" to do this, the enjoyment being the reaction I assume; unnecessary, overtly divisive and disruptive 'fun'. cygnis insignis 01:13, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Standerdise It was the comment above that made me think to go look. We have Category:Colour and Category:Organisations both are soft redirects to Category:Color and Category:Organizations. Pick one. What does it matter which one? CambridgeBayWeather, Uqaqtuq (talk), Sunasuttuq 02:00, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Do not standardise per MOS:ENGVAR. Daveosaurus (talk) 02:40, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Do not standardise per MOS:ENGVAR, except within regional contexts. Bermicourt (talk) 07:47, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose standardis/zation, it's incorrect to say category names are inconsistent, simply on the basis they differ from the American spelling. As per most things on Wikipedia, WP:COMMONNAME should apply. If the categories are related to countries where 's' is normally preferred to 'z', then why is "organisations" not perfectly acceptable? The important thing is the category 'tree' and being able to find the correct category as easy as possible. Sionk (talk) 10:07, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Don't standardize. It's the thin end of the wedge. Deb (talk) 15:22, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
  • No need to standardize - ENGVAR can guide us when there is a strong national tie to the categorization... and where there is not, I see no need for over-consistency ... No one will be confused if a category using “ise” contain a sub-category using “ize” and vice-versa. Readers will still be able to navigate between related categories and articles. Blueboar (talk) 16:30, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose – We should not be giving preference to any particular variety of English. ENGVAR is a long-standing agreement, and the precedent established by overruling that here would be a bad one. – bradv🍁 16:42, 19 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose last tim ei check this was the English language Wikipedia, not the US Spelling English language Wikipedia, or for that the English spelling English Wikipedia. As so many before have link ENGVAR says acceptable to either spelling, this action stikes me that it ahs a a lot similarities to things like Infoboxes & Templates which have already altered a person understanding of a topic. Why would we as the English language Encyclopaedia want to destroy what is a beautiful language that accept variations in all its glory, whether its an s or z it doesnt matter each have their origins in difference that make English such a wonderful language where we can use the same spelling to describe so many different things in different ways, where every place adopts words from where it is.... To stay ture to being an English language Wikipedia then our priority should be to ensure the regardless of the variants in spelling or meaning we should embrace its usage to reflect its diversity. Until there is a body like that in France which defines every french word, its usage and spelling then value our differences as they are, there enough other work around here to be done that has real benefit. Gnangarra 07:36, 20 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Z is not American usage. Its the original British usage. MOS:ENGVAR is very unhelpful when it comes to categories, because if people use Twinkle, as many do, it creates two seperate lists of categories. Nobody is suggesting changing the spelling of the names of articles. What we have at present is a system which standardises categories withing a country, but messes it up when it comes to the other heirarchies of categories. Rathfelder (talk) 09:59, 21 April 2019 (UTC)
  • prefer Z OED recorded -ize way earlier than -ise. I don't like etymology interfere with orthography, it just wreaks havoc. -- K (T | C) 13:52, 21 April 2019 (UTC)
  • No. Category police should not be making ise/ize decisions. Instead, categories should always reflect and defer to decisions made at the parent articles. Top level categories should always have a parent article. Categories exist to serve article navigation, little more. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 02:37, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Solution in search of a problem. Stifle (talk) 09:01, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
I don’t see any problem ... the Czech articles are categorized with “z” and the Slovak articles are categorized with “s”. Simple enough. different categories, different spellings. Blueboar (talk) 20:40, 4 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose /Do not standardise - I asked for the debate to re-opened. A lot of groups use the -s spelling. There is no need to standardise, just use common sense. - Master Of Ninja (talk) 09:09, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Do not standardise: while the primary usage in Britain may be up for debate, that's not the case in Australia (admittedly I don't have access to an authoritative Australian style guide, but other Australian Wikipedians seem to agree, and I've found several sources that imply "-ise" is common in Australia (e.g. It’s time to recognize and internalize the US suffix ‘ize’) and a couple of style guides (e.g. National Museum of Australia)). The nomination mentions several unresolved disputes, regarding ise v. ize in various forms of English, that affect the application of MOS:TIES; the solution is to resolve those disputes, not this attempt to impose a standard contrary to ENGVAR. EDIT: I've just noticed Frickeg has been kind enough to quote the Macquarie Dictionary, which says "Current Australian usage clearly favours consistent use of -ise". – Teratix 13:51, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Just a note, I would support a version where all categories are standardised as "z" unless they are related to a country that primarily uses "s" (MOS:COMMONALITY trumping MOS:RETAIN). – Teratix 12:56, 12 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Do not standardise Write some software so that it doesn't matter. Charlesjsharp (talk) 19:56, 23 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose Although the goal of standardisation (nudge nudge wink wink) is a noble one, as others have said, ENGVAR exists for a reason. Here are some RS to illustrate the dominance of "-ise" in Australian English:
The Conversation article quoted above by Teratix [11]: Craving the firm foundations of the establishment, Australians have standardised ise as the correct national form. Proselytising for ize is to no avail. Text editing changes ize to ise by default.
In the Australian Journal of Linguistics in 2014 [12]: The Australian English references (columns 3–6) show complete unanimity on -ise across three decades... the consistency of the Australian references contrasts with the ultimately uncommitted treatment in the British set. Further, Looking first at the Australian frequency data in columns 2 and 3 of Table 2, we see the -ise spellings well in the majority from the 1980s on, based on the uninflected forms of the three verbs; and close to or over 90% when the -ed forms are added...
In the AJL in 2010 [13]: English in Australia starts with a clear majority of <ize> and moves to an even more pronounced majority of <ise>.
I hope that goes some way to providing the evidence being requested in this discussion.
Triptothecottage (talk) 04:15, 24 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I dont see a big problem in leaving S in the categorisations for Australia and New Zealand if it will let us standardize the rest of the world. But nobody is suggesting that any actual articles should be changed. The different spelling wastes a great deal of editors time. Rathfelder (talk) 13:26, 25 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Once this change is made, the next suggestion will be changing the articles as well. My view is that "-ise" is used in more countries so perhaps go with that. This does seem like debating trivialities. Someone did mention developing a system that would translate between "-ise" and "-ize"? - Master Of Ninja (talk) 18:42, 25 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Don't standardise Per WP:ENGVAR. I have to go back and forth between -ise and -ize in the work I do based on the client, and it doesn't make sense to mandate the usage of a different form of English in areas that clearly use one form or another. I would say that in the event of a conflict, -ize should win out, though. Also, thank you to the person who reopened this discussion. SportingFlyer T·C 05:33, 26 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Our present policy builds in a conflict between consistency by country and consistency by topic. Rathfelder (talk) 11:44, 28 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I like the idea of a Preference setting--show everything not in quotation marks in US spelling or UK spelling. How does he Chinese WP decide which form of characer to display? Isn't that a user option? DGG ( talk ) 00:46, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
    • Is this a possibility? If the Chinese WP has this, could the feature be ported over and solve this issue? - Master Of Ninja (talk) 16:53, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
      • zhwiki uses ugly wikitext to specify alternate names that a reader might see, depending on their preferences (that link goes to zhwiki where the "Content language variant" preference can be seen). For example, "-{zh:米;zh-cn:米;zh-tw:公尺;zh-hk:米;}-" is the wikitext for the name of the m (meter/metre) unit. The feature is interesting but far too intrusive for use here. Johnuniq (talk) 23:02, 29 April 2019 (UTC)
  • This is a tempest in a teapot - This discussion is using a blatantly disproportionate amount of resources compared to the scope of the dispute. It should be ended in whatever way, in the closers best judgement, kills and buries this issue in the most permanent manner possible. In particular, oppose any no consensus or wishy-washy resolution, make a decision that ends this, and stick to it. Tazerdadog (talk) 00:20, 30 April 2019 (UTC)
  • Do not standardize per ENGVAR. My second choice would be something similar to what SMcCandlish proposes above: default to "z" unless there are significant MOS:TIES to a country where "s" is preferred. Wugapodes [thɑk] [ˈkan.ˌʧɹɪbz] 02:34, 30 April 2019 (UTC)
  • I would agree on that as well, if standardization is beyond reach. Many editors in this discussion seem not to realize that this is not primarily about what to use for Australia or the United Kingdom, but most and for all what to use for China, Thailand, Iran, Turkey, Russia, Spain, Senegal, Angola etc etc Marcocapelle (talk) 07:01, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
  • When a blanket change is created it impacts other uses. It would be better to just change those categories rather than change a policy where it has impact it to usages that are otherwise correct. One size doesnt fit all. Gnangarra 07:29, 2 May 2019 (UTC)
  • This is a pointless discussion if I ever see one. feminist (talk) 11:09, 1 May 2019 (UTC)
  • I dont think some of these contributors do much categorization. They dont know how much editots time and effort is wasted because of the lack of standardisation. Rathfelder (talk) 07:44, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Note Votestacking. This RFC has been subjected to blatant WP:VOTESTACKING (or more precisely Votebanking) by @Number 57. In these 12 edits[14] on 17/18 April, Number 57 notified 12 WikiProjects which have clearly been selected as likely to attract editors who prefer the "S" spelling.
The votestacking has worked; it clearly did produce the desired influx of editors who support Number 57's view.
It is surprising and very disappointing to see a long-standing and experienced admin engaging in such a clear attempt to rig the discussion. Note that for example Number 57's list of counry projects notified [15] didn't even notify the two major English-speaking countries in North America, i.e. Canada and the USA — clearly because they prefer the Z spelling
I hope that Number 57 will apologise for this, and make some amends by promptly notifying every country WikiProject ... and that this RFC's clock will be reset from the date when #57 confirms that the notifications have all been made. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 14:49, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
Notifying the WikiProjects of countries that use the "s" spelling is a perfectly reasonable thing to do when there's a proposal to stop using their preferred spelling across the whole of Wikipedia, and it's not something I'll be apologising for. Cheers, Number 57 14:56, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
@Number 57, you know perfectly well that this is not a proposal to stop using their preferred spelling across the whole of Wikipedia, because it applies only to a limited set of categories, and not to any other pages.
As an admin for 12 years, you also know perfectly well that this sort of votebanking is a very basic form of disrupting consensus formation.
So I repeat: please promptly remedy your votestacking by posting the same message to all country pages. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 15:04, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
I disagree with both of your assertions, and I won't be posting the message to WikiProjects of countries to which the spelling doesn't really matter. Number 57 15:08, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
@Number 57: The RFC very clearly applies only to categories, so your decision to "disagree" with that fact is a simple misrepresentation of a simple reality.
The policy on votestacking is also very clear, and it seems that you "disagree" with that too.
Since you seem unwilling to engage with these realities, I will sadly have to raise this highly disruptive misconduct elsewhere. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 15:14, 6 May 2019 (UTC)
It is clear canvassing. You cherry-picked the WikiProjects which would increase your POV vote tally. --qedk (t c) 06:11, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
I can appreciate 57's point of view here (disclosure: I participated in this discussion after viewing one of his notices). He was notifying projects which he thought would be most affected by this proposal. Example: the United States WikiProject won't be affected by this discussion, because the US usage is "z" and all US-related categories probably already use it. In contrast, the Australia WikiProject will definitely be affected because the Australian usage is "s" and so Australia-related categories would be changed as a result of this discussion.
It is important to understand the intent here. The term votestacking implies a bad-faith intent, which was not the case.
An easy solution is to notify any projects deemed relevant that weren't alerted initially. There is no need to escalate the matter. – Teratix 08:26, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
The current usage is mixed, which is what we are seeking to standardize, if you think this is not canvassing, you should read over WP:CANVASSING again. The policies are clear and the malintent/intent is secondary to the canvassing that took place. If Number 57 will inform WikiProjects which are inclined towards 'z' usage as BHG said, that would be construed as informing, this is just blatant. --qedk (t c) 08:52, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
From Wikipedia:Canvassing: "Canvassing is notification done with the intention of influencing the outcome of a discussion in a particular way". Intent is essential for an action to constitute canvassing. 57 has outlined his reasons for not informing other countries' noticeboards. This was not done with malicious intent.
Again, a simple remedy is to notify any other projects deemed relevant. It doesn't have to be 57, anyone can do it. – Teratix 09:02, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
Please read the entire page, i.e. WP:VOTESTACKING as well. Intent only matters upto the point it can be construed to be a mistake. If I wanted to change all references on Wikipedia from PRC to China and I informed only PRC-related WikiProjects, that is canvassing, my intent is irrelevant. The onus is on Number 57 to make this a non-partisan notification, not me, or anyone. --qedk (t c) 14:20, 8 May 2019 (UTC)
I too appreciate 57's position, they notified those they deemed to be directly affected by this proposal. Cavalryman V31 (talk) 00:25, 9 May 2019 (UTC).
From WP:VOTESTACKING: "Votestacking is an attempt to sway consensus ...". Again, intent is central. Qedk's example of PRC and China misses the mark here; for a start there is no separate PRC WikiProject (it redirects to WikiProject China). Secondly, it makes sense when changing all references to a country to inform all WikiProjects related to a country; both WP China and the hypothetical WP PRC are involved, as articles related to them would be affected. This is not the case here. US-related (and others that use "z") categories won't be affected by this discussion, as the primary usage in the US is already "z" and thus categories will already use "z". This proposal is only looking at extending the "z" usage to other countries's related categories.
@QEDK: I never said the onus was on you to notify other projects, merely that if you felt concerned, the option was available. – Teratix 01:09, 9 May 2019 (UTC)
@Teratix, the majority of countries are not English-speaking. Some of them have a consistent usage, and some do not. Those which have been standardised on one spelling have been chosen on a range of ad-hoc bases as set out in the nomination.
Those countries will be affected by the outcome. Their WikiProjects have as much right to be notified as any other. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 01:50, 12 May 2019 (UTC)
  • If these notifications had been done in good faith, they would have been done transparently, i.e. with a disclosure here of which projects were notified and why. @Number 57 is a very experienced admin, and knows well how to ensure that the neutrality of notifications can be scrutinised. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 16:17, 11 May 2019 (UTC)
It is possible to assume bad faith on both sides of this proposal. For instance it could be argued that if standardisation truely is the goal, then this RFC would have been to adopt common spelling, not “only Z”, with the spelling to be determined by a separate (or a preferential) poll.
Because of the way this RFC has been worded, 57’s actions are warranted. Cavalryman V31 (talk) 06:03, 12 May 2019 (UTC)
The solution is to identify and notify any relevant WikiProjects that haven't been already. 57 notified the WikiProjects that would most obviously be affected – countries that use the "s" spelling. – Teratix 06:09, 12 May 2019 (UTC)
  • I'm amazed this discussion is still active, seeing that I asked for it to be re-opened. I had no idea WP:VOTESTACKING and WP:CREEP were concepts. I actually felt that the original discussion was a potential "vote stacked" effort to push through presumed consensus, and it's nice to have had a wider discussion about this policy. I re-iterate one of the problems was that once you made the change to categories, which some claim is trivial, it would eventually migrate as a policy to most wikipedia pages. What's the ideal solution? No, idea. However as my previous vote above would suggest that there is no policy on -ise or -ize. - Master Of Ninja (talk) 08:10, 12 May 2019 (UTC)
    • @Master Of Ninja, it is utterly bizarre to suggest that the original discussion was a potential "vote stacked" effort. The proposal was made a central venue, and listed[16] at WP:CENT.
Please either identify in what way WP:VOTESTACKING was "potentially" breached, or withdraw that allegation. --BrownHairedGirl (talk) • (contribs) 14:09, 12 May 2019 (UTC)
      • @BrownHairedGirl - I think what I had written was perceived in a way that I did not intend, and I am not making any allegations at all. As I mentioned I am not familiar with WP:VOTESTACKING apart from having went through the link, and the accusations made against another editor on the above thread. My feeling that such a change did not go to a wide enough forum, seeing that after re-opening the discussion there has been much more activity on this thread. - Master Of Ninja (talk) 10:50, 13 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment- I was going to close this mess, but after a few hours of sifting through the discussion, and poring over the policy, I just decided that I didn't want to close this. I think it's fair to say I am fairly well-versed in category, naming convention, and cavassing policies on Wikipedia. But after I started to write up what was turning into a lengthy close, and with my sincere apologies, I just was having a hard time bringing myself to care enough to continue on, so I decided that I'd rather let someone else step in and close this if they want. Here are a few things I found, in case it should help whoever closes this: a.) To start with, clearly there was inappropriate canvassing done. The Wikiprojects notified were all regional ones. And were clearly a small subset of all regions potentially affected by this discussion (the whole English-speaking world). And what about Wikipedia:WikiProject Linguistics? Please see WP:CANVASS for more information on how to appropriately canvass. b.) Much of the discussion is subjective "I prefer z" or "I prefer s", rather than policy references or reliable sources. After sifting through policy (like ENGVAR and COMMONALITY), it seems that this is what is apparently being relied on, for referenced usage, in policy. As forWP:RETAIN,it would seem to not apply to this discussion because, as it states: "When an English variety's consistent usage has been established in an article, maintain it in the absence of consensus to the contrary." - This discussion is about a page's name, not the contents of the "body" of it. And finally, International Organization for Standardization - this page's title struck me funny in light of this discussion. Happy editing : ) - jc37 09:05, 20 May 2019 (UTC)
  • It is not true that all English-speaking nations will be affected by this discussion. For example: United States-related categories will use the "z" spelling no matter the outcome of this discussion. This is true of all countries using "z". – Teratix 07:00, 21 May 2019 (UTC)
    One of the options was "S". Levivich 03:03, 22 May 2019 (UTC)
    I suppose that's technically true, but I count one serious !vote in support which boils down to "English Wikipedia should be in British English only." No basis in policy (indeed, outright contradicting ENGVAR), not addressed in the nomination and no chance of passing this discussion. A non-issue. – Teratix 06:45, 22 May 2019 (UTC)
    Creating a straw man argument and then being dismissive of it as an option, does not change that the notification was clearly done in contravention of WP:Canvassing. Make no mistake - if such disruption were to continue, any uninvolved admin, may choose to take preventative action, which could include blocking. I would rather to not see that happen. - jc37 23:13, 2 June 2019 (UTC)
    @Jc37: Please explain what about my reasoning constitutes a straw man argument. You have claimed there was inappropriate canvassing; your justification was The Wikiprojects notified were all regional ones. And were clearly a small subset of all regions potentially affected by this discussion (the whole English-speaking world). In my reply, I have explained why this is not the case with a supporting example. Levivich has raised a valid objection (there was technically another option), so I have pored over the discussion and found virtually no-one taking it seriously. I summarised and examined the one serious !vote I observed, and found it to be completely lacking in policy-based reasoning. Then in your reply, you repeat your initial assertion and for some reason raise the possibility of a block. Why? – Teratix 00:50, 6 June 2019 (UTC)
  • @jc37 - this is why the whole rushed proposal was an utterly bad idea. You can see how much debate can be had on this, and I don't believe it's Wikipedia's role to standardise [;-)] English. - Master Of Ninja (talk) 07:53, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
  • @jc37 - Can you clarify why WP:RETAIN would not apply in the light of WP:AT, which advises that "…The rest of MoS […] applies also to the title."? Thanks. I'm just trying to better understand the blend of guidelines. ogenstein (talk) 01:30, 30 May 2019 (UTC)
    • Well, first off this discussion concerns category titles not article titles. Secondly, I went to WP:AT for find your quote to see what context might be found there, and when I did a page search for the word "applies" (among others), I did not find anything like the sentence you quoted. But to answer generally: We follow the MoS when applicable, though, when necessary, we of course may WP:IAR, or create new exceptions to the MoS, as necessary, as well. Which I believe is the intent of this proposal, and what you all appear to be discussing the merits of. - jc37 23:13, 2 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Do not standardise this is not the American Wikipedia, it is a project for all English speakers. This is why not every article is written in US English. ENGVAR is very clear on this, and many countries use the s, and they should be allowed to continue to do so. Joseph2302 (talk) 10:58, 24 May 2019 (UTC)
  • The idea that spelling with a z is American usage is a very widespread delusion. Please read American and British English spelling differences. Rathfelder (talk) 09:55, 25 May 2019 (UTC)
  • It's easy to say use British for UK/Commonwealth and US otherwise but what about the rest of the world? TBH I do think things should be standardiz/sed but how, eh? Maybe British for Europe and American for the rest of the world. --Hanyangprofessor2 (talk) 08:50, 31 May 2019 (UTC)
  • Use "z" per Phil Bridger. In my estimation, that encapsulates the argument. CThomas3 (talk) 00:36, 1 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment So you want to force uniformity and tromp on one 'side' or the other, but "hard redirects are too hard"? Precluding a technical solution while preferring a politiciṡ̃ƶed solution seems to incline towards bias rather than away from it. "Or what's a wiki for?" Shenme (talk) 14:18, 1 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment - British spelling isn't so much a mode of spelling as it is a set of stylizations which make it different from the American or Irish English. This small set of stylizations can be listed and evaluated, and each seems like they will come up short, when put to a vote (as is here). Why use s when its vocalized z? Why use ou instead of just o, per French influence (is everything French the ideal form?). -ApexUnderground (talk) 06:48, 16 June 2019 (UTC)
So you believe everything should be spelt phonetically? Cavalryman V31 (talk) 07:14, 16 June 2019 (UTC).
The problem always is on which accent should you base the phonetics? Template:@ApexUnderground is that not the wrong way around? The major differences between English and American English spelling came about by Webster's concious decision. As regards s/z and or/our there are subtle differences in pronunciation. Martin of Sheffield (talk) 12:47, 16 June 2019 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

Post closure discussion[edit]

Compassionate727 made this post at WP:ANRFC:

re Cinderella157 Having read your summary, I find myself unsure what your finding is. What does "embrace our differences in a more formal way" even mean? And is your closing rationale an actual finding of consensus, or your opinion as to what editors seemed to lean toward supporting most, but will require another RfC to action? Please clarify both of these things.

As this has been archived there, I will respond here. Please note a copy edit to my close. As QEDK observed at WP:ANRFC, there is [alleged] VOTESTACKING and multiple proposals. The former is, itself, reason to find "no consensus" as opposed to "consensus against". There are many !VOTES each way and some alternative proposals that take a middle ground (but without sufficiently clear support). There are arguements of MOS:COMMONALITY etc on the one hand and ENGVAR and RETAIN on the other. COMMONALITY does not appear to say what the title might imply.

BHG has Identified a problem, provided an appreciation of the issues and proposed a solution - to standardise on a particular spelling. Part of their appreciation is that ENGVAR and RETAIN do not explicitly apply to categories. Where they do explicitly apply (to articles and titles), they are the solution - if not a perfect solution. The general leaning is to embrace the difference (ENGVAR) and/or adopt a middle ground. Assuming there is a general perception that a solution is required, this would need to be formalised, that ENGVAR and RETAIN be broadly construed and applicable to categories; or, a middle-ground proposal achieving consensus would also need to be formalised. So yes, if there is a will to proceed, this will probably require a further RfC. Regards, Cinderella157 (talk) 00:42, 21 June 2019 (UTC)

  • @Cinderella157: just to clarify, do you believe there was indeed canvassing (i.e. do the allegations have any substance?) – Teratix 01:03, 21 June 2019 (UTC)
    • I did not attempt to make a determination about the "substance" of the allegations - not my remit. Regards, Cinderella157 (talk) 08:15, 21 June 2019 (UTC)
      • @Cinderella157: why, then, did you cite them in your closing statement as a possible reason for finding no consensus? Did they affect your decision or not? If not, why mention them at all? – Teratix 08:50, 21 June 2019 (UTC)
        • I concluded the allegations would "taint" any close. Your persistance on this point only serves to affirm my conclusion. Cinderella157 (talk) 10:36, 21 June 2019 (UTC)
  • I will support the summary that the best decision is having consensus that there is no consensus. I have no idea how this issue/non-issue can be sorted out - except saying that User:Cinderella157's thoughts that we should embrace ENGVAR are probably the right thing to do for now. Otherwise we will just get bogged down in this discussion for months. - Master Of Ninja (talk) 07:05, 21 June 2019 (UTC)
  • Perhaps we could consider for each country whether there is clear evidence of local usage? I'm not convinced that membership of the Commonwealth has much influence on spelling, and it seems strange to impose ENGVAR in places where English is not a local language. Rathfelder (talk) 14:23, 21 June 2019 (UTC)

Please STOP - the discussion has been closed. Give it a rest. Blueboar (talk) 15:08, 21 June 2019 (UTC)

Cinderella157 when I started closing RFCs, I set a pair of goals for myself. In my opinion crucial criteria for the job are (1) being willing and able to close against one's own preference on an issue, and (2) knowing when to close against a majority and being willing and able to do so. My most memorable close was a 20 vs 10 discussion, where I issued a firm close for the minority. I mention this because 17 of the majority-20 were blatantly Canvassed to the discussion. I gave the canvassed votes all the weight they warranted - NONE. After discarding the 17 fabricated votes it was actually a 10 vs 3 discussion. Unsurprisingly the 10 had the right answer.

  • This RFC was running about 75% support before it was massively canvassed. As a closer your "remit" is to serve the community, by putting the close on this that the community as a whole would want you to put, to the best of your ability. If I create 100 accounts and cast 100 votes on an RFC, those votes are obviously not any reflection of community consensus. If I canvass 100 votes from others onto an RFC, those votes are equally not any sort of reflection of community consensus. You acknowledge above that you made no effort whatsoever to account for canvassing. You didn't attempt to assess the consensus of the community. I believe this is grounds to overturn the close. I request that you withdraw the close yourself.
  • Your given rationale for the close was that you set aside any numbers, and that you closed based on the weight of arguments. While that can be a valid basis for a close, it's hollow here. A primary argument of supporters is that chaotic category names disruptively hinders the work of editors. Your closing rationale is that disruption of work is is irrelevant against the all-overriding-weight-of-argument.... to embrace our differences. I literally had to do a confused double-take trying to figure out what your rationale even meant. All I see is "empty fluffy supervote". If your going to make the core of your close an overriding weight-of-argument then you need to cite something credibly respectable. The hollow rationale here is either grounds for overturning the close, or more support for the case.
  • I was disappointed but not surprised when I skimmed your usertalk. Not only did you conveniently close in favor of your personal spelling preference, it borders on statistical anomaly that this RFC would randomly be closed by someone who prefers 's' to the unusual degree that you do. You use 's' on everything, including "winterised". According to Google "winterised" is a borderline-fringe 6.8% usage. "Winterized" comes up at 93.2%. While it may well be a coincidence that you personally lean so far towards 's', it hardly gives confidence that your disregard of canvassing and the substance-free rationale are an unbiased assessment. To put a positive spin on it, maybe you just didn't notice how far out of sync your use of 's' is with the rest of the planet.

P.S. I've never been involved in this issue other than responding to the RFC. However I do care about respectable closes. Alsee (talk) 15:42, 21 June 2019 (UTC)

  • Commentary that considers consensus in terms of votes and percentages and weight in binary terms is fundamentally at odds with the WP concept of consensus - WP:NOTDEMOCRACY.
  • If the allegations of VOTESTACKING are presumed, would it rally be possible to objectively disentangle the result and without an hue and cry ensuing? I could not see a sound objective basis.
  • Casting aspersions of bias is unbecoming. Statistics should be (IMO) used with caution to define or resolve a social issue. "Winteris[z]ed" is not the subject of this discussion. The comments made have the appearance to me of polemic ad hominem. "Vilifying groups of editors" for following different spelling conventions does not foster collaboration and respect.
  • Your closing rationale is that disruption of work is is irrelevant against ... This is a gross misrepresentation. As such, it is both uncivil and a strawman arguement. Please do not misconstrue my circumspection for other than what it is.
  • If the problem requires resolution, move forward to a result that will achieve broad support of the community. A strong consensus has bipartisan support that everybody can live with. Unilateral decisions are generally weak.
Cinderella157 (talk) 04:28, 22 June 2019 (UTC)

Close contested by Alsee at Wikipedia:Administrators' noticeboard#Close review - Village Pump discussion on spelling of category names. Cinderella157 (talk) 00:11, 27 June 2019 (UTC)

  • Did we come to a consensus (or a consensus to not agree) on this topic? I note the above contested close? Master Of Ninja (talk) 11:41, 7 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Actually I note that further discussion on this topic is now being done at this page posted above by Cinderella157. It sounds like everyone there is also agreeing to disagree, and no-one can come up with a good summary of the outcome of the discussion. Master Of Ninja (talk) 05:53, 10 July 2019 (UTC)
Haha, I had noticed the the post-post closure discussion had moved there, with everyone just rehashing their discussion and post closure discussion POVs on the RfC.
The truth is no one wanted to make a determination for over a month, then when someone bravely did (and unsurprisingly determined no consensus) they were attacked for having the courage to make a close.
As for Alsee,s arguments for overturning the close, they boil down to:
  • Cinderella didn’t vote count after discounting a number of !votes
  • Cinderella is Australian and so could never make in impartial decision
Anyhoo, we will wait and see. Cavalryman V31 (talk) 09:25, 10 July 2019 (UTC).
  • Update of 15th July 2019 - the debate is still ongoing on the Administrator's noticeboard - Master Of Ninja (talk) 18:27, 15 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Update of 21st July 2019 - the debate (since 4 April 2019) is still ongoing on the Administrator's noticeboard - Master Of Ninja (talk) 07:30, 21 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Update of 1st August 2019 - the debate is still ongoing on the Administrator's noticeboard - although discussion has tailed off no-one now wants to close the review - Master Of Ninja (talk) 05:30, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Update of 2nd August 2019 - the review debate has been closed at the Administrator's noticeboard. I will not paraphrase - best read the review closure yourselves and the advice contained within. - Master Of Ninja (talk) 07:20, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Does anyone have objections for me to close as per the advice given on the review closure? - Master Of Ninja (talk) 07:26, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Ping initiator of the RFC, BrownHairedGirl. The close review essentially resulted in an informal invitation to run the RFC again.[17] Alsee (talk) 19:19, 3 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Per this post at the close review, I raise what I believe to be significant concerns about the process of this RfC. Specifically, that MOS:ENGVAR does already specifically apply to naming categories, that those commenting here have been inadvertently misdirected as to the premise of the RfC and, in consequence, the RfC, the close and the review have been compromised. I acknowledge that I was misinformed/misdirected. I suggest that what follows requires further discussion. Regards, Cinderella157 (talk) 11:35, 6 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Seeing that no-one else wants to close this, and the discussion has been going on since April without any resolution, I am closing this myself now. - Master Of Ninja (talk) 07:09, 8 September 2019 (UTC)

Alternate proposal[edit]

  • Build and maintain two parallel category trees: one with 's' and one with 'z'. Come on, you know you want to! — Pelagic (talk) 05:34, 21 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Might be the only option. If you read the ongoing discussion on the administrator's noticeboard, there might be a move to re-run or re-open the proposal. Hope this will help the situation is unclear. - Master Of Ninja (talk) 07:30, 21 July 2019 (UTC)
A kind notice, language converter already exist for people with various preferences, therefore, we don't technically need to maintain two category tree, just make one system, and have an option to make them look the way one prefer. viz 01:38, 13 August 2019 (UTC)
@Master Of Ninja:LanguageConverter. It's already used in other language wikis that has regional variations.viz 11:03, 18 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Why is this even a problem? Category pages can be redirected, so both language versions can be made available for pages where it would look odd or inconsistent to have a particular spelling. SpinningSpark 10:01, 31 August 2019 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

RFC on WP:ARBPOL Forms of proceeding: Private Hearings[edit]

(Placing this here, as the talkpage of WP:ARBPOL is redirected.)

Worm that Turned has confirmed that ARBCOM are currently holding a private hearing and considering evidence that will not be provided to the subject of the hearing. See here.

This RFC is to gauge community consensus on the interpretation of the wording of WP:ARBPOL - specifically (emphasis mine) "In exceptional circumstances, typically where significant privacy, harassment or legal issues are involved, the Committee may hold a hearing in private. The parties will be notified of the private hearing and be given a reasonable opportunity to respond to what is said about them before a decision is made.

It is my opinion that the wording of ARBPOL does not allow evidence to be considered and used against individuals without that evidence being disclosed to them. The very worst members of society - rapists, murderers and child abusers are still told who has accused them, of what, when, how etc. They are often denied the opportunity to confront their accusers directly, but they are still provided all the available information on those accusations in order to defend themselves. I cant think the intention of the ENWP community through ARBPOL is that editors will be accused and judged based on evidence they have no access to and has not been seen. The wording 'reasonable opportunity to respond to what is said about them' cannot apply, how can you respond to what is said about you if you dont know what it is? The pseudo-legalistic approach arbcom has codified in ARBPOL is based on the modern legal standards of fairness and disclosure, the approach ARBCOM are taking shares none of that.

There is no doubt the issues surrounding WP:FRAM are best served by a private hearing, however that does not allow ARBCOM to disregard ARBPOL because the WMF have demanded their file on an ENWP editor is kept from that editor. ARBCOM are beholden to the ENWP community, not to the WMF. If the WMF have attached conditions to that evidence, then ARBCOM should reject it unless the WMF are willing to abide by ARBPOL.

Please indicate your support/opposition below. A support vote should indicate you are in favour of the interpretation above: that 'reasonable opportunity to respond' requires disclosure of all evidence to the accused. Please provide a reason why. An opposition indicates that you think the wording of ARBPOL allows for evidence to be considered and used against a person, but not to be supplied to that person. Likewise provide a reason why.

Any other comments also welcome, however I am not interested in this degenerating into another pro/anti Fram discussion, please keep on topic as to the specific issue of the interpretation of ARBPOL.

This is not intended to add, remove, change/alter the wording of ARBPOL, only answer the question 'Does the wording regarding private hearings support that evidence to be used against an editor should be disclosed to that editor in order that they can respond.'

Support (ARBPOL Private Hearings)[edit]

  • Support - for the reasons stated above - in all modern systems of justice and arbitration, disclosure is one of the most important principles that needs to be upheld. Only in death does duty end (talk) 21:08, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
  • A user cannot, by definition, have a reasonable opportunity to respond to evidence they haven't even seen. * Pppery * it has begun... 21:22, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Support. Even the worst examples of abusive processes feature the basic components of notice and an opportunity to respond. It strikes me that excessive secrecy will effectuate a denial of those two most basic components. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 21:41, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Support. An accused person should always know the evidence against them. Secret trials and secret evidence are the characteristics of a totalitarian state and have no place on Wikipedia. Xxanthippe (talk) 22:36, 31 July 2019 (UTC).
  • Support. In a normal arbcom proceeding (as is required by due process) a party can pose questions to other parties. The secrecy not only prevents the accused from organizing his own defense but precludes the accused from posing questions to the other parties. For example, if the Arbcom says that it is opening a proceeding regarding all acts of incivility involving an admin during the past three years, and editors A through Z come forward alleging incivil conduct, the admin should have the right to pose questions making plain the circumstances of those interactions. This RFC is important because the Arbcom is about to set a group of bad precedents on how to handle anonymous incivility complaints. Hlevy2 (talk) 23:02, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Support. Per natural justice, person A must not be penalized without being told "what for" and being given opportunity to respond. It follows that a person cannot be penalized based on a private complaint. the private complaint may inspire an investigation that reveals public evidence of wrongdoing, to which person A can be informed and be asked to answer; or the complaint and be investigated but with outcomes limited to non punitive things, such as better education, or safeguards. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 00:46, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Support - the involved parties of an arbitration MUST be informed of what has been said about them and by whom. However, the rest of the community does NOT have a need to know. ArbCom can (and should) issue a Wikipedia version of a “gag order” if necessary. I am adamantly opposed to having secret tribunals conducted by the “mistrust and unsafety team” ... I am fine with our ArbCom system holding “closed door sessions” of their normal forms of redress. Blueboar (talk) 01:40, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Support - If they can't see it or have any reasonable expectation of what it is, how can they muster a defence? —A little blue Bori v^_^v Bori! 02:15, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Support - The whole point of punting this to ArbCom was that T&S had short-circuited the entirety of en-wiki's dispute resolution process; this is supposed to be our chance to prove the efficacy of that process. However, any such proof can only be found if all of the rules of the process are followed. ARBPOL is policy for a reason, and must be respected; if T&S isn't willing to have its evidence disclosed to the accused, then their evidence must be disallowed. We're already bending over backwards to accommodate them by letting them redact and anonymize the evidence; if they want our trust, they have to meet us halfway on this and let ArbCom give Fram a summarized, anonymized version of it to respond to. rdfox 76 (talk) 04:07, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Support. The correct interpretation of ARBPOL is that evidence that remains private can only be used to initially motivate a search for evidence that can be made public. If there is already motivation to search for evidence, any evidence that remains private is unnecessary and the case must be judged on the basis of public evidence alone. Where this means that private evidence has to be disregarded, this is a valid and intentional tradeoff made to prevent filtered evidence from leading to incorrect decisions.
With respect to the community not needing to know, I disagree with Blueboar above. The involved parties are not the only ones who may be able to respond to evidence against them. If you allow the whole community to submit evidence against the parties in a case in private but do not provide a way for the community to refute this evidence, which requires that the community know what the submitted evidence was, you are systematically biasing the case against the parties.
Some of the objections below are about the Fram case specifically and I consider them irrelevant. Others miss the point: Rhododendrites, you say that arbitrators are the most trusted users on the project. The primary purpose of ensuring that evidence is made public is not to constrain arbitrators that are not trusted, but to allow responding to filtered evidence. Arbitrators need these responses all the more so if we trust them. Responses to public evidence can be targeted, which allows them to be more useful to the arbs in improving their judgment both if the responses are good and if they are not. If, in response to the public evidence, they get a strong refutation of the evidence, they can stop weighing the refuted evidence entirely; if the main points are eluded, they can weigh the evidence that is still standing more than they could have otherwise. This allows them to change their judgment or increase their confidence that the judgment is correct. — Rastus Vernon (talk) 04:12, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Responding here since pinged: made public - presuming you mean communicated to the relevant case party? Responses to public evidence can be targeted, which allows them to be more useful to the arbs - Indeed. But I can envision a scenario when revealing that information would be harmful and, at the same time, be sufficiently clear on its own, or in combination with other evidence that has been disclosed, that arbs can make a sound judgment without disclosure. I want to reiterate something: this should be extremely rare, and avoided as much as possible. I'm opposing because I don't want to state in any absolute terms that they are prevented from withholding evidence or from summarizing it in a way that leaves certain aspects out in those rare situations when it's necessary to do so. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 13:52, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Support, the purpose overall should be that an editor should be able to better themselves. Evidence that cannot be shown or discussed with the defendant is not admissible for a case against the defendant as the defendant cannot defend themselves or put the evidence into (their) context. It is not anyone else's capability to judge evidence without having that context. (note: I do trust that ArbCom will handle this appropriately and in a transparent way). --Dirk Beetstra T C 06:35, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
    I am going to qualify my !vote here further in light of the opposes. I do not expect a full exposure of all evidence. What I expect is a reasonable chance to defend yourself. I do not expect '[here], [here], [here], and [here] you are commenting rather harshly on [user:<whoever>]'s edits', I do expect something along the lines of 'on several occasions you have been commenting rather harshly on the edits of multiple editors'. And I do then expect that the accused is allowed to come back with specific examples of edits where they themselves felt that indeed they were harsh, and put those in context. Those examples may accidentally be the same editors on which the accusation was based, it may also be other cases. An accusation of 'you were harassing editors <full stop>' is not something that one can, reasonably defend itself against. (and I do note, that the accusation 'you were harassing editors <full stop>' (or whatever the accusation(s) is/are) seems to be WAY more than what Fram knows, and it is certainly more than what the community knows.
    I do believe that there will be cases of people who are currently submitting evidence that say "OK, I will have it, ([diff], [diff],[ diff] are several situations with a person where I felt harassed by this person. I felt hounded because of [diff], [diff]. Show this to the community, and lets see what the accused, and the community says." What I then do expect is that the community respects those feelings of the accusing party and not burns that down with 'grow up'/'you have to develop a thicker skin', but I also expect that the accusing party respects the community when they return with 'yes, but the accused has been nicely talking to you [here] and [here] before that and you continued.'. As I have been saying for a long time, not everything is as black-and-white as child-pornography, death threats or, if you wish, checkuser data. And I know, the community is not very good at this.
    I will fully respect those editors who do not wish to be identified, and I also agree that we have entrusted the ArbCom with handling such private evidence. I also respect that that evidence may be mounting up to gargantuan proportions. It may even be of a nature that is indefensible.
    What I support here, boils down to me opposing cases where the accused, even if all evidence is indefensible, is not allowed to a reasonable way of defending themselves against that evidence, and no reasonable way of appeal. And yes, that may result in a 'we have a massive body of evidence, but most of it is inadmissible as we cannot assure that the accused has a reasonable case of defending themselves against the evidence'. But you cannot chose to have justice to people while denying that to others. And I do not believe that it is up to the ArbCom to decide to do the case completely in camera, that is up to the volunteers that present evidence on a case-by-case basis. It may then happen that all evidence is not visible to the community, but we should respect those editors who chose to do make their evidence public.
    I will wait for the case to proceed and see what happens. I do not envy the situation the Arbitrators are in. --Dirk Beetstra T C 06:29, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Support. I am okay with certain sensitive evidence not being made publicly available to the community and I must trust ArbCom with that remit, but the accused should always know what they are accused of. Secret trials on Wikipedia are unacceptable, as is the WMF's continued meddling in our dispute resolution procedures. – filelakeshoe (t / c) 🐱 07:04, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
    • It is possible for the accused to know what they are accused of without seeing all of the evidence presented against them. For example arbcom could say something like "You have been accused of X, Y and Z. The accusations of Z are not relevant/not credible and they will form no part in the case. X relates to on-wiki actions centred around article 1 and article 2, their talk pages and discussions of them at AfD. Y relates to (a) on-wiki activity at random and (b) emails you sent regarding it (copies of several emails have been forwarded to the Committee) since June 20xx. Specifically it is alleged that you have been doing A and B and that these actions are contrary to policies C and D.". That is presenting to the accused what they are accused of and giving them a reasonable chance to respond. If anything isn't clear then the accused can ask for clarification. Thryduulf (talk) 13:29, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Support The community attitude has always been for robust protections. This may be a website but people have in many cases, including Fram, devoted much time and effort to the project, without seeking a dime in return and do not deserve to be cast off for no known reason. If ArbCom feels it needs to conduct secret hearings on secret evidence, I believe that is beyond what the policy intended and that it should come to the community and ask for a change of policy by justifying it. Who knows, they might get it. But the secrecy and stonewalling, even having secret reasons for secrecy, is foreign to our principles.--Wehwalt (talk) 08:08, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Support Such action denies the principles of natural justice. It is intrinsically abhorrent (as are other actions by ArbCom contrary to these principles). There must be ways to protect the parties while maintaining the principles without resorting to this. Furthermore, such action may be contrary to US law and expose WP to a criminal or civil liability - on the understanding that WP is based in the US and subject to US laws. It has tones of Animal House and "double-secret probation". One could link to some historical events for emphasis, but I have already got into trouble for doing that at ArbCom. Cinderella157 (talk) 10:22, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
    Cinderella157, this is in no way a legal proceeding. It is a form of binding arbitration, which does not have to follow the rule of law or of evidence. This would be no different than someone being kicked out of the country club by the board of directors. Technically they could do so because they didn’t like the fact that you played with pink golf balls. I’d like to think that our process, while perhaps not ideal by legal standards, represents a balance between fairness to both the accused and the alleged victim(s), and I personally trust our arbs enough to strike that balance. CThomas3 (talk) 09:57, 5 August 2019 (UTC)
    Cthomas3, while the principles of natural justice do apply to legal proceedings, they apply broadly (or should) to all sorts of decisions made by governments and non-government organisations. In short, they encapsulate principles of fairness. It is therefore not a matter of following the rule of law or evidence. You could refer to questions to candidates for the most recent ArbCom election. Cinderella157 (talk) 23:37, 5 August 2019 (UTC)
    Cinderella157, I completely agree with you on that. I wasn't implying that we shouldn't be fair; we of course absolutely should strive to be as fair as possible. I was merely pointing out that we don't risk running afoul of US law if we choose to deviate from it in the interest of fairness, and in my opinion that needs to be examined not only from the point of view of the accused, but the victim(s) as well. My apologies for not being more clear on that. CThomas3 (talk) 23:54, 5 August 2019 (UTC)
    Cthomas3, I was pointing out that the foundation may be exposed to a legal risk/liability for such an action (ie not complying with the principles of natural justice). Identifying a potential threat should be a concern to corporate risk management. I am not so familiar with US law but base my observation on Australian law. Laws relating to incorperation may impose duties or obligations upon the foundation which are pertinent and there is the matter of potential civil liability where the foundation has acted unfairly (ie contrary to the principles of natural justice). Certainly, by your analogy of the country club, such a liability may exist if the board has acted unfairly or outside its constitution and bylaws. It is a matter of prudence to consider such a risk. Regards, Cinderella157 (talk) 00:58, 6 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Support User:Tryptofish wrote:
    Yes, Premature. I might support something like this if I were convinced that Fram really is in a situation where he will have to defend himself against unknown charges.
    Fram will have to defend himself against charges, and therefore has the right to at least know what the charges are in full, so that he can present a full and credible defense. Yes, if the person doesn't want their name shown, their name can be hidden, but by all means, let Fram see the charges in full not some hacked up censored version of them! Wekeepwhatwekill (talk) 13:11, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Support in theory, oppose in practice. ARBPOL should match what the arbs actually do - but given the very unusual circumstances surrounding the Fram situation I'm willing to hold off and give them time to reach their natural conclusions. I will say this to the Arbs - at the moment it appears you're only acting as WMF puppets. Many, perhaps even a majority, of the community are not satisfied with the WMF at the moment. There are (and have been) some outstanding individuals there (WMF), but the actions of T&S have put the relationship between the community (who have built this project), and the WMF (who spend the money we earn for them) in a great deal of jeopardy. I'd like to see Arbcom find a way out of this where we can all 'save face' a bit, but I'm no so sure that's in the cards. T&S violating the primary rules of our (WP-EN) site may get larger play than simply an article here and there at Breibart if they can't. — Ched :  ?  — 13:19, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Support...Not only that the wording as it stands requires disclosure of the accusations, but that to refuse this information to the subject of the accusations prevents a determination of any restrictions on Fram's participation in the work of en.Wikipedia.
T&S, under the supervision of WMF erred. Promising the equivalent of redaction to the accusing party or parties, if interpreted as denying full identification of the accusations to the accused, stands in contradiction to the rules and methods of ARBCOM. The damage has been done. Fram's general record can be examined. ARBCOM can do a normal case. The secret case should be thrown out. The way T&S handled the accusations is problematic to the point that the current case can not go forward. Unfortunately, justice for the accusers is not going to be possible without their permission to allow disclosure of all evidence published on en.Wikipedia. The only exceptions that occur to me are events that happen off-wiki. — Neonorange (Phil) 17:39, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Support: As written, ARBPOL severely constrains ARBCOM's ability to hold a private hearing that imposes sanctions based on evidence not provided to the sanctioned individual. It does not require ARBCOM to pass on all evidence received or generated, and it does not seem to prevent the use of withheld evidence to generate further evidence, providing that decisions do not rely on withheld evidence. The reasonable opportunity wording allows a little wiggle room to anonymize complaints, but only if it can be done without sacrificing the ability to respond. Now, I can accept the argument that there are some circumstances where the evidence is so clear-cut and yet also so sensitive that someone must be sanctioned without an opportunity to respond, but, under the current ARBPOL, the community has not given that remit to ARBCOM. So our options are to follow policy as written, change the policy, or declare IAR. Bovlb (talk) 17:56, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
    Some further comments. I have carefully read the dozen opposes below. They offer justifications like: some cases require private evidence; we can trust ArbCom to exercise discretion; and other processes allow confidential evidence. These may all be true but don't seem to me to engage the question asked, which is about what the current policy says, not what it ought to say. Several point out that being shown all evidence is not necessary to have a reasonable opportunity to respond, which I sort-of agree with, but I still feel that the current policy gives little room to sanction based on secret evidence. Other comments suggest that the question is moot because of its relevance to an ongoing case, but this issue has come up before: see Wikipedia_talk:Arbitration_Committee/Noticeboard/Archive_32#The_Devil's_Advocate_banned. Bovlb (talk) 22:25, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
    This part of the policy was introduced in 2011 after a discussion where I see many opposes that raise the concern that the new policy goes too far in allowing secret hearings. A subsequent discussion in 2016 overwhelmingly rejected the idea that ArbCom should have the discretion to override this provision in specific cases. Bovlb (talk) 23:18, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Support: Support, of course. Making the accusation known to the accused is the most basic right of them, otherwise they wouldn't know from what they should defend themselves. Having been the victim of a blatantly fraudulent ban from the WMF very recently, based on secret accusations made by secret parties, of which I wasn't even informed, not even when the punishment was already over me, I totally condemn this abhorrent practice, should it be from the WMF, ArbCom or whatever party. Darwin Ahoy! 00:20, 3 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Support: It's a shame that the question even has to be asked. Allowing the accused to see and respond to the evidence against him is part of our fundamental principles of justice. And you can't respond without seeing; it's necessary to be able to see the exact evidence in order to supply context or point out misunderstandings. We can say "trust Arbcom", but the person best motivated to give such context, and often the person best placed to know about it, is the accused. Ken Arromdee (talk) 18:57, 4 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Support I don't think Wikimedians only have due process rights "if they need them" or that ARBCOM is sufficient to protect editors against possibly baseless charges. Denying evidence to the accused undermines their ability to mount a defense. Chris Troutman (talk) 10:23, 6 August 2019 (UTC)
  • One of the most basic principles of justice is that a person may know the nature of the accusations against them. Stifle (talk) 09:58, 8 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Support. Anyone accused should know what are the accusations and what supports them (I don't know shit about Fram or Fram's case, except that there is a case and lots of discussion out there of which I have read maybe a full 50 lines about it, i.e., nothing, at most :-) - Nabla (talk) 01:06, 10 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Support Due process is a fundamental component of all fair judicial or quasi-judicial bodies. Although strictly speaking the arbitration committee is not a quasi-judicial body by law in the same way a university's conduct system might be, it does purport to be a formal method of resolving disputes in a fair and equitable fashion, which due process encapsulates. To have any semblance of due process, one simply must have the right to see the evidence against them. At least in the US (I believe also in other common law countries), one also has the right to confront their accuser. However, I suppose that would not be possible in this case. --Rockstonetalk to me! 08:08, 15 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Support per previous discussions linked above. The community has made it clear that this is an important principle not to be eroded. I don't see any justification under the current policy not to present the document to the accused party. To some points below, no matter how trusted members of ARBCOM are, they have no incentive to try to debunk credible-seeming evidence, but instead to take it at face value. Without presenting the evidence, there would be no one in the entire process with such an incentive. ARR8 (talk) 15:33, 19 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Support — Unless criminal activity is involved (in which case ARBCOM should not be involved), any evidence not provided to the accused can not be used in the decision making process. This is a reasonable trade-off. Otherwise social behavior is being controlled in an authoritarian manner. If certain behaviors on Wikipedia are a problem, the corrective will be found in open discussion. — Neonorange (Phil) 03:53, 31 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Support, even though I also think this is too soon, I feel the need to respond to some of the opposes arguing that we should not adopt court-like principles because we do not have the legal power to protect victims in the way that a court does. Revealing the details of accusations against an accused party in a secret process, if they are guilty, is not telling them anything they did not already know. In what way is the accuser protected by witholding that information? If they are not guilty, then frankly, the accuser does not deserve protecting in the first place. SpinningSpark 10:10, 31 August 2019 (UTC)

Oppose (ARBPOL Private Hearings)[edit]

  • Premature if you want to be able to deal with harassment and similar things, you have to have a way so that victims are able to submit things without having a bunch of harassers come after them. Not saying the Fram hearings is a sustainable thing, or that guidelines shouldn't be developed, but this is reactionary, and hard cases make bad law. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 21:15, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
This is regarding the existing wording of ARBPOL. Not creating new policy, or developing new guidelines. Even in a workplace environment if you make a genuine harassment complaint, you will get the talk from HR that your identity cannot be guranteed anonymity. Do you feel the current wording allows for evidence to be kept from the accused in a private hearing, and why? Only in death does duty end (talk) 21:20, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
This. The RfC isn’t proposing anything new, or anything case-specific. In fact, it’s not even proposing that the identity of the accusers be disclosed. It merely seeks an affirmation of the basic fact that notice and an opportunity to respond are part of Committee policy. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 21:45, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Yes, Premature. I might support something like this if I were convinced that Fram really is in a situation where he will have to defend himself against unknown charges. But until I see something more definitive about that, I'm pretty confident that the current ArbCom (who are, after all, the same people who drafted the response to the WMF that got well-deserved applause from the community) are conducting the inquiry in private for valid reasons and are going to find ways to give Fram a fair hearing, even if there are impediments to telling the rest of us exactly how they are going about that. We are still in an unprecedented situation, and I think we need to be careful about overcompensating or jumping to conclusions. --Tryptofish (talk) 21:38, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
Arbcom have confirmed they are not providing evidence to Fram. Do you feel the current wording of ARBPOL allows evidence to be withheld from an accused editor, and why? Only in death does duty end (talk) 21:44, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
As I understand it, they are going to withhold some, not all, evidence. That does not necessarily mean that Fram will have so little information that he won't know what he is responding to. Whether the current wording supports it depends on details that I do not know, and I am not assuming the worst. --Tryptofish (talk) 22:03, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Premature, obviously. ArbCom have promised to conduct a fair and rigorous investigation. Perhaps if we stop haranguing them with endless points of order, and attempts to delegitimise their investigation through RFCs such as this one, they might actually be able to spend their time conducting the investigation itself and then coming back to Fram and the community with a set of findings that we really can scrutinise for legitimacy.  — Amakuru (talk) 23:02, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
    I'll follow this up by adding an outright Oppose to the proposition, based on Iridescent's insight into the matter. The rules as currently written clearly do allow secret trials without presentation of evidence.  — Amakuru (talk) 11:26, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Premature - Let's see how this plays out before we go off half-cocked, making assumptions which have not been shown to be true. Beyond My Ken (talk) 23:14, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Support/yes to the boldtext question we're asked to answer (but based on the !votes so far that seems to put me in "oppose" somehow) (question/text revised, so updating) Oppose. Arbs are the most trusted users on the project. I have no trouble trusting their judgment regarding what should/shouldn't be disclosed to whom. This is not a court of law. We specifically aren't dealing with people who have committed violent crimes, and I find the comparison bizarre. We're not talking about discussions that result in taking away someone's freedom. We're talking about whether or not we want to allow someone to continue being a part of this website's community of volunteers, or whether they have failed to uphold the rules/standards of the community. Yes, of course we should allow for exceptional circumstances when there is potential harm to the victim of harassment to disclose their complaints to the harasser. People seem worried about some hypothetical situation where someone doesn't actually do anything wrong but is accused and "sentenced" without knowing what they did wrong. In what situations, exactly, do you think a majority of the most experienced and trusted users would arbitrarily block/ban someone without looking at the evidence extremely carefully, based on years of experience with wikipolicy, norms, conventions, etc. (including those norms that say that they should be as transparent as possible)? That kind of judgment is why/how we elect the arbs we do. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 23:36, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Due to your comments below I have altered the question slightly to make it clearer. You may want to change the first line of your reply above, however anyone reading this will understand your position. Only in death does duty end (talk) 06:42, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
  • I do just want to elaborate/reframe a little. In opposing this I am saying that I don't want to prevent arbs from withholding certain evidence or omitting certain details in the way they communicate with someone. I expect that refusing to communicate important information would be a very rare thing, but could see instances when it would be merited to protect a member of the community. Where that results in potential sanctions on someone, where I trust the arbs is in using judgment to determine the extent to which it's possible that missing part of the story due to the accused not having all the evidence might lead them to get it wrong. If it's not a clear situation, I would expect them to find a way to get that context before sanctioning. — Rhododendrites talk \\ 13:44, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose I fully trust Arbcom to deal with this in the way they see fit. SportingFlyer T·C 00:29, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
    • Deal with what? This isn't talking about a specific case. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 00:39, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
      • Oh, please. This is clearly an RfC about the Fram arbitration. And arbiters have the ability to be fair and impartial without giving one of the parties all of the information - discovery's typically limited in arbitrations anyways. This would have the impact of turning Arbcom into something that's not really arbitration. SportingFlyer T·C 02:34, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
        • Nobody's talking about judicial discovery. We're talking about notice of accusations and an opportunity to respond to them. In a secret case like this there's neither. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 02:46, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
          • I don't want to get into a long discussion about this. I trust Arbcom to treat both sides fairly, and given my previous comments supporting them closing as much of the hearing as they saw fit, I'm happy they are arbitrating behind closed doors. I don't define "fairly" to imply both sides will have an equivalency of information. SportingFlyer T·C 05:19, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
            • Again, this isn't about mere information (or equivalency of information), or about "sides" (which I don't think there are formally). It's about the bare requirement of notice and opportunity to respond (which of course must be meaningful). —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 05:29, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
              • What have I said that isn't clear? The answer to the question posed above, in my opinion, is a clear yes, if Arbcom deems that necessary, and as long as the Arbcom process remains fair, and I think it can remain fair while considering evidence that one party doesn't have. SportingFlyer T·C 05:34, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
                • How can fairness possibly be present without meaningful notice or a meaningful opportunity to respond to the charges? You're contradicting your own points. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 05:40, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
                  • No, I'm not contradicting myself. This is specifically about whether Arbcom needs to disclose all of the evidence to Fram. A "reasonable opportunity to respond" as written on the Arbcom policy page does not mean Arbcom is required to disclose all of the evidence to the parties in the case. SportingFlyer T·C 07:07, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Premature for the reasons above. I'm pretty ambivalent on the question though. On the one hand, it feels like there is a meaningful difference between "reasonable opportunity" to "respond to what was said about them" and "has a right to view all evidence entered against them." I think it is completely reasonable to interpret this sentence of ARBPOL as being satisfied by an opportunity to respond to a proposed finding of fact that summarizes what was said about them. The question of whether we should interpret it that way is different, because the right to face your accuser is a rather central part of a fair hearing. That said, part of the reason harassment and similar behaviors are hard to adjudicate is that this framework provides a strong disincentive for victims to come forward as it risks bringing even more harassment (as we've seen the last month without even knowing the alleged victims). These are complicated questions and competing values which entire governments have struggled to address, and so I think this is reactionary and unlikely to yield a particularly well considered outcome (hard cases make bad law and all that). Wug·a·po·des​ 03:33, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose As Wugapodes has ably described above, the dichotomy is a false one. Not being given a verbatim copy of all the evidence is not the same as having no chance to respond to it. The committee have said that Fram will be given a summary of the evidence and he will have a chance to respond to that. Secondly, the analogy to serious crime is not apt. When someone is convicted of such a crime, they are prevented from taking revenge on their accuser, both because they are likely to serve time and because the victim then has the resources of the state to assist them. Wiki has none of that. The best we can do is to ban someone from our website; the real-life consequences of that for whoever brought an accusation are then left to them to deal with and there is nothing we can do. A victim's privacy becomes more important in this process, not less. GoldenRing (talk) 07:21, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
    • You misunderstand the question. Not being given a verbatim copy of all the evidence, but rather a summary, is the same as having no chance to respond to any part of the evidence that is not in the summary. If there is a summary of the evidence, that summary is the public evidence and the interpretation in question would allow it to be used. If there is any context that can be gathered from the private evidence that could affect the arbitrators’ judgment, responses to that context could also affect the arbitrators’ judgment and not allowing the parties to respond to it would bias the case against the parties. Similarly if there is evidence not part of the summary. This is not about whether it is fine for the arbs to provide only a summary, but whether they can use any evidence or context useful for evaluating other evidence that has not been made public (in a summary or otherwise); and they cannot, at least because such evidence cannot be refuted, making it unreliable for forming an accurate judgment. — Rastus Vernon (talk) 07:41, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
      • @Rastus Vernon: But the question is not about natural justice or logic or whether a process is reliable; it is about whether providing a summary of the evidence and allowing someone to respond is a fulfillment of the requirement to give them a "reasonable opportunity to respond to what is said about them." IMO it is. GoldenRing (talk) 09:40, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
        • Whether the opportunity to respond that is provided is reasonable according to the requirement has to be judged according to the purpose of the requirement in providing that opportunity. That purpose is the fairness and reliability of the process. — Rastus Vernon (talk) 18:41, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Do we require a CheckUser to provide the full technical details of a check to a sockpuppeter who requests a full hearing in order for the user to be considered to have a "reasonable opportunity to respond to what is said about them"? Nope. Do we require an Oversighter to provide the contents of abusive, suppressed revisions in order that a subsequent block based on that information be considered fair? Of course not. In the course of events, it may become necessary for ArbCom to hear evidence that cannot be disclosed to the accused party directly, that has an even greater privacy interest than CU/OS. I trust ArbCom to make that judgment, and to determine in what cases providing a user with "reasonable opportunity to respond to what is said about them" does not require ArbCom to make full, unredacted, verbatim evidence that may serve to harass a user further in order to properly resolve a matter before it. Best, Kevin (aka L235 · t · c) 07:36, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
    • that has an even greater privacy interest than CU/OS. Oh that is absolute bunkum. Virtually everything relevant in that T&S casefile is going to be on-wiki and public information. And virtually everything that anybody is going to send to ArbCom about Fram is going to be public information. For the love of Pete can people please stop pretending that the information is some super secret microfilm that's going to get our agents in Moscow killed if it gets published? —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 07:40, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
      • You're making assumptions that neither you nor I can confirm or deny, having not seen the file. But let's entertain them for a moment. You don't think that there is less of an interest in keeping private some material, release of which serves to harass members of the Wikimedia community, than in, say, the IP addresses of sockpuppeteers (CU data), or e.g. "potentially libelous information" (OS data)? You don't think there's that potential? You don't trust the ArbCom that you elected to weigh the factors and decide fairly? The implication that I have to be "pretending" (a verb whose connotation is deception) that there might be a justifiable reason to keep the information private is not particularly welcome. Best, Kevin (aka L235 · t · c) 08:02, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
        • A sockpuppet will hear 'we have technically assessed your edits and checkuser data has revealed that you are likely the same person as Y'. You can have a rebuttal to that 'yes, I am a student in a large university and we all share only a couple of IPs on computers with the same software image, it is not unlikely that I my checkuser data is very similar to another user in the same institution'. That is something completely different than having to write a rebuttal to ' '. --Dirk Beetstra T C 08:25, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
          • @Beetstra: It sounds like you agree with me, then. I'm not suggesting that the committee hide the nature of the reasons it is considering in a sanction decision. What I am opposing is the interpretation that 'reasonable opportunity to respond' requires disclosure of all evidence to the accused. 'we have technically assessed your edits and checkuser data has revealed that you are likely the same person as Y' is also not "disclosure of all evidence to the accused". Best, Kevin (aka L235 · t · c) 21:11, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
            • Kevin, 'you have harassed someone' (lets assume) is a statement out of a different class than 'you are technically indistinguishable from X'. The latter can be rebutted with 'I am logging in from a public library, the former only with 'yes' or 'no'. You cannot reasonably rebut it. (and that would already be much, much more evidence than what WMF has been willing to provide until now ...). --Dirk Beetstra T C 03:48, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
              • That's not the question this RfC is answering, though. By its terms, this RfC asks whether ArbCom must transmit every shred of evidence presented to it and whether it has to refuse to consider any evidence it doesn't transmit verbatim. There are a lot of steps between sending "you have harassed someone" and that level of process, and it is frustrating to be criticized for taking the position that the latter is inappropriate on the grounds that the former is insufficient. Of course ArbCom should disclose as much evidence as it can, and it has committed to provide summaries. Making judgment calls and weighing the various interests at play is exactly what we elect ArbCom to do. Best, Kevin (aka L235 · t · c) 05:02, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose as per Wugapodes on the current interpretation - "a reasonable opportunity to respond to what is said about them" is not synonymous with being presented with all evidence (including confidential evidence submitted privately). Premature relating to any thoughts on changing that interpretation. We do need a mechanism for harassed people to submit complaints privately (and some of the harassment I'm aware of - one case in particular, not Fram - has been truly horrible). I've previously committed to trusting ArbCom in the Fram case and I'm sticking to that - I say let's give them a chance and see how they handle it. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 09:20, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
    Adding: If there's a consensus that current policy requires ArbCom to provide all evidence to the accused, that will not mean Fram gets to see all the evidence in the current case, it will just mean the current case will have to be dropped. So all the work towards compromise, towards getting such difficult cases heard by the community's representatives on ArbCom, towards developing a better way to handle harassment cases, would end up being for nothing and it would all be handed back to WMF/T&S again - and that's surely the worst possible outcome. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 10:39, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
    I'll also add (I should probably add it somewhere else but I can't work out where right now) that I'm saddened to see ArbCom's status in the minds of so many as having switched from being the Community's champions against the evil authoritarians to being the evil authoritarians. How have we managed to turn to such polarized "no compromise" attitudes, when we're just supposed to be a bunch of people building an encyclopedia? The big issue all along has been the erosion of community self-governance by WMF, but I'm becoming increasingly convinced that self-governance is failing - as a fault of the community, not of WMF or anyone else. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 11:02, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. "Must be shown all evidence against them" and "Must be given a reasonable opportunity to respond to evidence" are not the same thing at all. For example I would say that arbcom giving someone an anonymised and consolidated copy of the relevant evidence is giving them a reasonable opportunity to respond but is not showing them all the evidence against them. In at least some cases expecting someone to respond to a consolidated presentation of only the relevant portions will be a lot more reasonable than expecting them to respond to reams of ramblings that include much duplication and much that is irrelevant. Thryduulf (talk) 13:10, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose The comment by Thryduulf just above says pretty much exactly what I was going to say. XOR'easter (talk) 16:53, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose Private Hearings and the evidence is meant to be private for a reason and should be kept private unless the WMF or a legal order requires the evidence to be given to the user Abote2 (talk) 21:40, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose Expecting a "disclosure of all evidence" is not possible in cases where we need to protect the identity of a victim of harassment or abuse. – Anne drew 23:38, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose as premature in cases of harassment or abuse, there is often some evidence that cannot be provided to the alleged offender in order to ensure that further harassment or abuse does not occur, or to meet confidentiality requirements, as two examples. I trust ArbCom to provide as much relevant evidence to Fram as they can, so that Fram can conduct a proper defence against the allegations. Peacemaker67 (click to talk to me) 04:10, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. It is true that being able to see and respond to evidence against oneself is a core requirement for any judicial procedure in any jurisdiction committed to the rule of law and basic fairness. But ArbCom cases are not judicial proceedings, and arbitration policy is not part of a legal system. We are talking about access to a private website here, not criminal or other state sanctions. I think that it is possible to interpret the policy's requirement of "a reasonable opportunity to respond to what is said about them" such that it allows summarizing and anonymizing evidence to protect important privacy interests of the complainant. And ArbCom is elected to decide whether and how to apply the arbitration policy in this manner. Their decisions are not subject to community review, including through RfCs. Sandstein 10:15, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. I won't clog this RFC with a long wall of text giving my reasoning, but it's explained at length here. ‑ Iridescent 10:41, 2 August 2019 (UTC)*
  • Oppose. iridescent's (linked) explanation sums it up well. Cas Liber (talk · contribs) 11:05, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose Comparisons to actual judicial proceedings are invalid because apples and oranges. The committee should have some leeway to work in privacy to offer appropriate protection to those being harassed. In general editors get an opportunity to respond to and see accusations publicly and one of the things we should consider when electing arbs is do they have the good judgement to decide when to do things differently (i.e. the TDA case). Scribolt (talk) 11:57, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
But we must also consider the rights of those being accused of harassment (remember, accusations may be false, so the accused may actually be the victim). The accused has a right to know who has said what about her, since that information is necessary to defend herself. Blueboar (talk) 12:14, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
I don't think they always do. I can think of plenty of LTAs and otherwise unpleasant people who've edited on this website who shouldn't get to know certain details. And it's the role of the arbs to make those judgement calls. Scribolt (talk) 20:09, 5 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Or, more accurately, "I don't think this discussion is helpful at this time." Per several of the above, including Boing! said Zebedee, Thryduulf, and Iridescent. Newyorkbrad (talk) 16:43, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Anything I could possibly add has already been said above and below. –MJLTalk 16:55, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Iri's wall of text on his talk. TonyBallioni (talk) 17:02, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Iridescent, Sandstein, and Roger Davies back in 2011: "Unlike real life situations, anyone can turn up and comment at an arbitration case. This produces an atmosphere totally unlike any real world situation. In some instances, it's called transparency; in sensitive issues, it's simply horrifically invasive. It is impossible to discuss private stuff publicly, no matter how cautiously, without the dots getting joined up or speculation/allegations running riot." Clayoquot (talk | contribs) 17:16, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose Per above, and Arbcom is not a court and does not punish, it merely deals in binding the permissions of users on this private website; thus, its members individually and as a group of dedicated, mature, fair-minded volunteers on a volunteer website need and deserve trust and discretion to protect others and themselves. Alanscottwalker (talk) 17:30, 2 August 2019 (UTC) Responding to Bovlb's argument, his argument is plainly wrong. Not only are the opposes directly addressing the issue, the issue addressed by the opposes is that the present policy is written in such as way as to give the reasonable leeway the opposes embrace. It's the interpretation of the supports which makes no sense in the context of Wikipedia, Wikipedia policy is almost never a straitjacket because such interpretation does not accord with the purposes of Wikipedia. -- Alanscottwalker (talk) 22:24, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose Clayoquot's comment is the most closest to what I think. I believe the extraordinary openness of Arbitration proceedings (where anyone can show up to bring 'evidence'; evidence that can eventually influence final decisions) and where the participants can be subjected to unpleasant experiences because of taking a particular stand should be matched with some extraordinary powers in difficult situations like this. At this point we basically need to trust ArbCom to move on, or distrust them to the point they abandon the case and go back to square one; the default WMF position. – Ammarpad (talk) 06:46, 3 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose because I do not agree that the words 'reasonable opportunity to respond' are the same as ‘requires disclosure of all evidence to the accused’. If the latter was what was intended, that is what the wording of the current policy would say. The use of the word ‘reasonable’ tells us that there is considerable room for discretion in this matter. Mccapra (talk) 12:43, 3 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose I share Thryduulf's understanding of the wording, and I'm convinced by Iridescent's explanation of the intention behind the wording. --RexxS (talk) 20:28, 3 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose My expectation from the wording, before reading anyone's comments (or at least not many) would be somewhat similar to Boing!, Mccapra et al as the most logical interpretation, and the interpretation which best fits with wikipedia etc. Reading the discussion my view hasn't changed, in fact it's re-enforce by Iridescent's view that that this is somewhat akin to how it was intended when developed. And as with many others, I have not yet seen any reason to change this. I've long railed against attempts to make wikipedia function too much like a court of law given the fundamentally different effects and roles in society. We should carefully consider the principles they apply, and why they apply them, but we shouldn't completely ape them. As others have said the proposal would seem to disallow checkuser evidence in arbcom cases for example. And likely plenty of other things which happen on occasion. Note that for those that say none of that is the case here, I have 2 points. The first more minor one is that of it's impossible for us to know unless someone explicitly confirms it since that's the nature of something secret. The second more important one is that this has been explicitly presented as a general clarification, intended to affect the ongoing case which inspired it, but by no means exclusive to it and so it's moot. If a more specific proposed policy change is made e.g. that requires all on-wiki evidence consider is made public, we could consider that. You could also make specific proposals about what should happen in the Fram case if you want. But while this may be a discussion and not a vote, I think it's clear we're not going to come to a consensus on any such ideas from this specific discussion given the way it was designed and worded and the nature of RfCs involving many editors.Nil Einne (talk) 07:39, 4 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Iridescent, Headbomb, Boing!, Wugapodes, GoldenRing, and others. There is a distinct and important difference between full disclosure of all evidence and providing enough information to meaningfully defend oneself against accusation. I find the arguments that (some) legal systems provide persons accused of heinous crimes more access to evidence to be hyperbolic and uncompelling; the consequences here are, at most, the loss of editing privileges, not deprivation of life or liberty. Further, this is precisely why we elect trusted representatives to handle cases like these. Either we trust ArbCom or we don't. CThomas3 (talk) 04:28, 5 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose per Iridescent. While a ban should be justified based on publicly available evidence, before that point both public and non-public evidence should be reviewed. ChristianKl❫ 07:12, 6 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Opposed to poison-pen letters, secret evidence, lack of accountability, closed door hearings, filtering of evidence to enable pre-determined results, and denial of the basic right of an accused person to confront their accusers and to present potentially exculpatory evidence. This takes the WP:BOOMERANG off the table. Actual bad actors are already subject to sanctions through established procedures and practices rooted in precedent. Carrite (talk) 08:01, 26 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Strong oppose: the OP says ... rapists, murderers and child abusers are still told who has accused them, of what, when, how etc. The difference is that in those cases, the state has authority to limit the freedom of the criminals. Here, we have no good way of ensuring safety for the victim if the accuser is told something. (I don't refer to Fram specifically but to any user who is accused of misconduct.) Yes, we can block or ban someone, but everyone here knows how rampant and difficult to stop sockpuppets are. Even if the user stays off of Wikipedia, they are still allowed on plenty of Wikipedia hate fora and other websites where they could talk about what they were told. With Framgate, we have already seen a disgusting and shocking level of targeted harassment by Wikipedia users (let alone Wikipediocracy etc.) of people they guessed to be responsible for the WMF reports. The direct result of this motion passing is very likely to be a significant upturn in harassment against the subjects, which violates the confidentiality that they made the reports with the promise of—a more important right in this case than that of Fram, who is still receiving a fair trial. We violate the reporter's rights already by letting Arbcom see the evidence given by the WMF, but this is a reasonable tradeoff to hold the WMF accountable and ensure fairness in the outcome for Fram. It would not be a reasonable tradeoff to provide Fram with any further evidence, not least because of the dangerous precedence it sets. — Bilorv (talk) 07:43, 30 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - per Bilorv's statement above. If users cannot anonymously report harassment, most harassment will go unreported. Kaldari (talk) 04:25, 10 September 2019 (UTC)

Third option: Exceptional circumstances (ARBPOL Private Hearings)[edit]

  • Restricted to exceptional circumstances such as off-wiki actions, law enforcement matters, on-wiki content subject to oversight such as threats and personal info. Per Iridescent's comments, private hearings were intended to cover things like disputes spilling into real-world actions and violent criminals and genuine lunatics. I trust the Arbs if they state this is about something such as violent threats or offwiki actions. However as I understand it the material currently at issue consists substantially or entirely of routine, publicly visible, on-wiki diffs. Secret evidence and secret hearings are not appropriate for content disputes and content-policy-enforcement disputes. The accused cannot be given a "reasonable [and effective] opportunity to respond" to editing disputes and policy disputes without showing them the diffs so they can explain their policy arguments for those edits, including but not limited to Wikipedia:Harassment#What harassment is not. If the accused gets to see those diffs then there's no point in trying to keep those diffs secret with a private hearing. I believe I see 4 acceptable outcomes here:
    1. Arbcom states that this involves oversighted threats/personal-info, off-wiki activities, or some similar category which is an established justification for secret evidence and a private hearing.
    2. A finding of wrongdoing and sanction based solely on publicly evidence in a public hearing. "Secret evidence" is irrelevant if it's not used against anyone.
    3. A finding of no wrongdoing and lifting the ban. "Secret evidence" is irrelevant if it's not used against anyone.
    4. If the Foundation is unwilling to accept a cooperative resolution then that is not Arbcom's problem to address. Intrusion of the Foundation into content disputes and issuing content-dispute-based-bans is problem to be resolved between the Foundation and the Community. If that is the case then I'll happily open an RFC for the community to resolve the problem from our end, substantially eliminating the Foundation's ability to impose these sorts of bans in the future. The proposal would be to delete any links to Trust&Safety from EnWiki, to delete any pages belonging-to or about T&S on EnWiki, delete any mention of T&S on EnWiki, and that Arbcom can of course forward cases to T&S after after reviewing them as appropriate for T&S to handle. Fram will still be banned, but Trust&Safety will no longer be engaging in such bans if no one can find T&S to submit complaints in the first place. Alsee (talk) 16:04, 4 August 2019 (UTC)
    Hmm... are you saying that the EnWiki community could issue a community ban of T&S? Blueboar (talk) 16:19, 4 August 2019 (UTC)
    Blueboar I don't think that's a good metaphor, and it would probably generate pointless squabbling over the metaphor itself. I would suggest "vanishing" as a better metaphor. We don't need to restrict or alter T&S, we can just make routine edits to our pages and leave them sitting at empty desks.
    I expect the proposal itself would be enough to persuade the Foundation that a cooperative solution is needed. Alsee (talk) 12:12, 5 August 2019 (UTC)
    I would think this would have exactly the reverse of the intended effect. What you'd be creating in effect is a two-tier system of insiders who are aware of how to look up T&S's contact details on Meta, and less-involved editors who don't know where to find them or aren't aware of their existence. It would tilt the scales even more than they're already tilted in favor of those who are part of organized canvassing groups who can find friendly insiders to lobby T&S on their behalf, and "those who are part of organized canvassing groups who can find friendly insiders to lobby T&S on their behalf" is the reason this discussion is happening in the first place. ‑ Iridescent 19:36, 5 August 2019 (UTC)

Comment (ARBPOL Private Hearings)[edit]

  • This Fram case is not intended to set precedent, but rather to break the deadlock that we were in last month. I (and I believe other arbs) fully intend to move forward with discussions on how to handle such issues once the case is finished. I appreciate that this process will not be perfect, but we are trying to find a solution that works. WormTT(talk) 21:18, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
    • You are affording Fram less rights than those allowed to rapists and child abusers. I do not, and will not accept that under any circumstancesl. I frankly dont care what you will/may be doing in the future. My only goal in the above is to gauge if the community agrees with you that ARBCOM can act that way towards editors, or that the provisions of ARBPOL do not allow, even in private hearings, evidence to be deliberately kept from the accused and thus depriving them of a reasonable opportunity to respond to said evidence. Only in death does duty end (talk) 21:22, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
      • @Only in death: rapists and child abusers would get summarily banned by the WMF. So no, Fram is not treated worst than rapists or child abusers. Headbomb {t · c · p · b} 22:20, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
        • Ha, you would think so. The WMF is remarkably slow in these areas. Despite constant badgering about the genuine risk in some cases. Only in death does duty end (talk) 22:22, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
      • If convicted, rapists and child abusers would be imprisoned for many years. That is why they get the rights afforded by law. It is not reasonable to compare that situation with who gets to access a website. It is reasonable to think about whether an accused should be given the opportunity to identify their accuser, but not by comparison with rapists and child abusers. Johnuniq (talk) 00:12, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
        • This goes back to my point below: Even in cases where there isn't much at risk the basic protections of notice and an opportunity to be heard are basic (though these need not always be prior to action being taken). For instance, the ability to buy alcohol in city limits (Wisconsin v. Constantineau) or having your frozen chickens destroyed (North American Cold Storage Co. v. City of Chicago) or being dismissed by your university (Board Of Curators Of University Of Missouri v. Horowitz) or being fired by your public employer (Cleveland Board of Education v. Loudermill). There are, of course, many exceptions to this rule in the law (e.g., Board of Regents v. Roth) but we're not talking about the law here, we're talking about what we're prepared to tolerate as a body of editors. Do we genuinely think that the arbitration policy ever meant that the Committee could sanction somebody without giving that person notice of what they did and an opportunity to tell his or her side of the story? The common practice of holding cases in abeyance when editors disappear during a controversy says that the Committee has never been authorized to do this. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 00:27, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
    • Intent isn’t meaningful here. We’ve seen that the Committee follows its own precedents, no matter how nonbinding they’re intended to be. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 21:39, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
  • It doesn't especially concern me that Fram (or any Wikipedian) would have fewer rights than an accused criminal, as the consequences are much different. Nobody is going to prison no matter what ARBCOM or the WMF decide. However, the ability to know what you are accused of is pretty fundamental to any legitimate system of justice.--Mojo Hand (talk) 21:50, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
To be honest it only concerns me in the abstract in that I just cant imagine the intent of that section of ARBPOL was to allow for secret evidence to be used against editors. Not publically disclosed is one thing, keeping evidence from the accused completely is an entirely different level. The point of the examples above is that even in those extreme situations involving abhorrent acts, we still hold to the fundamental principle that people have a right to know what they are accused of, so they can defend themselves (even when hopelessly and obviously guilty). Only in death does duty end (talk) 21:56, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
The point of the examples above is that even in those extreme situations involving abhorrent acts, we still hold to the fundamental principle that people have a right to know what they are accused of, so they can defend themselves (even when hopelessly and obviously guilty). It’s worth noting that the problem mentioned above—that the reason we’re super protective of those accused of serious crimes is partly because of the serious penalties involved (life, liberty, perhaps property). In cases where what’s at risk is “less” (e.g., reputation) it’s not abnormal to have fewer procedural rights. But even in those low-risk cases, you get notice of what you’re accused of and a right to be heard. This is actually a really common problem that the law has dealt with for several decades, especially in decidedly “not a court” contexts (like hiring/firing decisions, arbitration, and administrative agencies). —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 22:10, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
Confidential private evidence will be used in harassment and other serious cases, that's not what's on the table here. The decision we have is whether to accept ArbCom dealing with such cases (in a way they/we will try to formulate and improve going forwards), or dig in with a "no compromise" attitude and see WMF/T&S take over. That's surely what we'll get if we reject the ability of ArbCom to keep private evidence confidential. Is that what we want? Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 10:47, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
  • I would like to see a definitive statement from ArbCom on what will or will not be able to see (within the limits of the NDA). If he is not to be shown evidence, then I will support this fully. As with a previous discussion (concerning whether there are accusations of off-Wiki behaviour by Fram), ArbCom should not just accept the conditions imposed by T&S without clarifying with them what the limitations are. I hope there is a two-way dialogue going on with T&S about the evidence, what can be clarified, etc, at which these points can be raised and answers or clarification provided. If not, then I want a statement from ArbCom explaining why there isn't. SchroCat (talk) 22:05, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
The intent of this is to clarify the communities expections of the implementation of ARBPOL. If the community thinks that 'yes, evidence must be disclosed in private hearings to the accused' then ARBCOM's discussion with T&S is quite clear - if you want us to look at evidence, we will show it to the accused. The WMF either agrees or refuses, simplifies the decision tree immensely. The point is that ARBCOM are representatives of the community and must abide by ARBPOL. If the WMF find ARBPOL is insufficient for their needs, then thats an entirely different discussion. Currently WTT has confirmed they are unable to share evidence with Fram. There may be future conversations that allow some evidence to be shown to them, all of it, or none. That should not be ARBCOM's decision to make behind closed doors with the WMF. ARBCOM should have a clear direction from the community as to how accused editors are treated. Only in death does duty end (talk) 22:14, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
  • This is one reason why there are lawyers. In civil cases there is often evidence that cannot be shared with a party, but it can be shared with that party's lawyer who is under strict obligations to maintain confidence and to act in a fiduciary capacity for the party. (Such evidence is marked Confidential AEO - Attorney's Eyes Only) If WMF wants to have secret evidence, they need to appoint a group of trusted users who can view that evidence, and let the accused choose one of those people to act as an advocate. I see no other way to achieve both confidentiality and fairness. Jehochman Talk 22:48, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
  • Sure seems like support/oppose are reversed here. "Support" is typically an affirmation/"yes" of the question under discussion. The question is "Does the wording regarding private hearings allow..." but people supporting seem to be saying it does not allow... — Rhododendrites talk \\ 23:18, 31 July 2019 (UTC)
Unfortunately that's because the bolded question was added afterwards as the first two respondents in oppose ignored the actual point of it. I will reword above. Only in death does duty end (talk) 06:24, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
  • I just wanted to note that, quote, "The very worst members of society - rapists, murderers and child abusers are still told who has accused them, of what, when, how etc. They are often denied the opportunity to confront their accusers directly, but they are still provided all the available information on those accusations in order to defend themselves." is not entirely accurate. And I'm not talking about the stupendously rare case of the anonymous witness. I'm talking about pre-trial activities. The defendant is entitled to be presented with the evidence that is entered at trial, and to confront the witnesses who testify against him. The defendant does not get access to all documents generated by the prosecution or law enforcement. If the goal of Arbcom were to parallel common law standards, they would be asked to provide the defense only with evidence that is either the potential basis for a verdict, or is exculpatory in light of the previous. They would not be asked to provide the defense with literally everything. Someguy1221 (talk) 02:47, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
Some prosecutors do in fact allow defense attorneys to view the file, talk freely to the witnesses, etc. Personally I consider this a best practice. What is there to hide?--Wehwalt (talk) 07:40, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
I agree with that in terms of real life stuff, most of the time. Incidentally, I have been trying to find articles about the practice - I could have sworn it had a name, but can't find it now. Anyway, in the case of ArbCom, I think what is worth hiding is the identity of a witness who decides they would rather their testimony go unused than be at risk of further harassment. Someguy1221 (talk) 07:52, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
This is slightly misleading. If the prosecution is in possession of evidence that would help the defense they are required to disclose it, or if the defends thinks it may help them. A number of rape cases in the UK have spectacularly collapsed because the CPS didn't hand over evidence. The standard is not if the prosecution is going to use it, or if the prosecution thinks it's exculpatory or not. That's not their decision - although functionally if you are unaware of evidence and it's not been disclosed by the other side, you are unlikely to request it. It's also completely irrelevant in this case as arbcom have already confirmed they are reviewing the evidence as part of their deliberations, The accused knows it exists, so it should be provided to them. Only in death does duty end (talk) 06:32, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
Yes, of course, it gets rather complicated, and it depends on where you are. I am mostly familiar with the Brady disclosure, but regardless I tried to keep it brief since I was only trying to make the point that in the real world the prosecutor doesn't just hand over the entire case file. Regardless, what I had in mind was, we mere peasants don't know what it is that ArbCom is reviewing, what secret information they are considering, and what they intend to provide as their reason for whatever decision they make, and therefore shouldn't jump to declarations that everything should be turned over. Obviously, "we are banning you for your harassing behavior toward User:[REDACTED] as evidenced in [REDACTED DIFFS]." or the like would make it impossible for anyone to mount a defense. Same goes for "we are banning you for the bad stuff you said offwiki at [WEBSITE REDACTED]." However, there's a lot of stuff I could see them not revealing, and be completely okay with. For instance, discussions among staffers, or between staffers and witnesses, might not all require disclosure, ethically speaking, where they only contain arguments and not evidence. Nor does the identity of whoever provided evidence necessarily need to be disclosed along with the evidence itself, especially if that person is not actually a witness providing testimony. This may be the case if the evidence is a list of diffs of alleged harassment. The real life parallel to that is the prosecution often being able to keep it a secret who actually pointed investigators at a suspect, since what matters is often what was found and not who noticed it first. This leaves the unfortunate possibility of ArbCom technically being able to hide evidence of selective prosecution. That is, even if ArbCom decides to be open about why someone is banned, they could in theory publicly state that someone is banned for reason X, but in reality that was a pretext and everyone is actually pissed at the defendant for secret reason Y, and the case would not have even happened otherwise. Personally, I'm not worried about that possibility, mostly because ArbCom is accountable through reelection. Though I also respect that reasonable editors could disagree with that sentiment. There is also the possibility that a particularly vindictive user or busybody is the one making secret reports as a campaign of revenge, even though the wrongdoing is very real, resulting in people on only one side of an issue being held accountable. I'm not worried about that possibility due to really the Wikipedia Community's general tendency, very much unlike real life, to equally investigate everyone involved in a dispute. I understand that not every reasonable person will be so reassured, but anyway, this is why I would be okay with ArbCom not revealing everything. However, I do think it would be good for them to at least give some guidelines on what they intend to share with the accused and the community in cases like this, assuming such guidelines are not simply imposed onto them. Someguy1221 (talk) 07:29, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
  • I think...perhaps premature, yes, but perhaps also still concerning. At the very least, I would say that if Fram does not have the ability to see and respond to that evidence, it should not be considered at all. It is quite fundamental to be able to see and respond to evidence which will be used against one. ArbCom can still hold the case on the basis of input from the community, and of course that input could well mirror the areas of concern brought up in the secret report. (I certainly hope anyone presenting case evidence understands that Fram will get to respond to that, and I damn sure hope that statement is true!). But I certainly never want to see the situation arise that we'd say "Well, we're banning you, but we won't tell you why or give you a chance to even respond." I know a lot of modern websites do operate that way, and I think it's a terrible practice that we should very much not emulate. Seraphimblade Talk to me 05:01, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Please bear in mind that the effect of supporting this will not be to give Fram full access to the private evidence in his case, because we are contractually prohibited from giving it to him. What it will do is stop ArbCom from having a case, sinking the only compromise solution we have yet found to this deadlock between enwiki and the WMF. I don't think we are breaching ARBPOL: we are making every effort to give Fram a reasonable opportunity to respond to what is said about him in what is a complex and exceptional circumstance. This is a process we have had to put together quickly, with little precedent and no time to consult the community on alternative formats. As WTT has said, it won't be the template for how private cases will or should look in the future. – Joe (talk) 07:57, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
    Exactly this. Maybe people think that if they can get the Arbcom case closed down on a technicality, then Fram will be unbanned forthwith? I highly doubt that. The WMF would simply uphold their own ban in that situation. The best way to get closure on this (bearing in mind that such closure might simply be Arbcom an upholding or extension of the original ban) is to allow this case to proceed and reach a conclusion and the only way that WMF has permitted Arbcom to do that, is with redacted evidence and in camera.  — Amakuru (talk) 08:05, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
    • (edit conflict) @Joe Roe: "what it will do is stop ArbCom from having a case, sinking the only compromise solution we have yet found to this deadlock between enwiki and the WMF" .. No, it does not stop that. You can have a case on the publicly available material, having an open evidence section where people can post evidence that they find and that they are willing to share, and then giving Fram (and others) to rebut the evidence. The evidence that is NOT being presented to the accused party is simply not admissible. You've seen the response of the community when the WMF banned a user on completely secret information, do you think that the community will respond differently to ArbCom if they would say 'Yeah, we've seen the evidence that you cannot see, and we keep the current ban in place'? The community will see that either as if you are meekly following WMF, or that you are doing the same thing as WMF.
    It may be the only option that you see here, but yeah, it may be what WMF's T&S' has turned the situation into. 70 pages of inadmissible evidence, and you now are collecting more of it. --Dirk Beetstra T C 08:12, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
    No, this is a compromise solution. The board statement said We support ArbCom reviewing this ban. We have asked T&S to work with the English Wikipedia ArbCom to review this case. We encourage Arbcom to assess the length and scope of Fram’s ban, based on the case materials that can be released to the committee. (highlighting added)
    If we choose to ignore the T&S document, then we are failing to honour the compromise. What we are trying to do is find a solution where they community (especially Fram) can see the reasons for our decision, whatever that might be, whilst respecting the compromise and doing our best to protect individuals. There's a lot of balls to juggle here, we are attempting to find the least worst solution. WormTT(talk) 10:53, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
    It's not much of a compromise if it's imposed on you with no negotiation in good faith. Definitely not a solution either. As to the interpretation of the board statement, that is ridiculous. By expanding the inquiry beyond the T&S document you're already violating that statement. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 11:01, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
    Mendaliv, we didn't accept the idea of simply reviewing their document and marking it with pass/fail. Holding a private case, in the manner we are is the compromise. I sincerely doubt the WMF is happy with the solution either. WormTT(talk) 11:10, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
    (edit conflict) In fact, I'm gonna come back to this again because I cannot comprehend how you can interpret that statement as requiring you to use the T&S document as the basis of your final decision, rather than as a preliminary investigative tool. Let's unpack that very quotation you gave: First, We support ArbCom reviewing this ban. This means that ArbCom can review the T&S ban. Review, at least in the adjudicative frame of reference in which we're working, means to determine whether it was proper. "Support" itself has meaning, but that meaning is not "require" or "mandate". More on this last point later. We have asked T&S to work with the English Wikipedia ArbCom to review this case. This is nothing binding on the Committee itself; indeed, it merely indicates that T&S is to work with ArbCom, presumably to the extent ArbCom requests their input. The other interpretation is that ArbCom and T&S are to work as "partners", which would be improper and a further intrusion upon the community independence that the Board claims to honor. So that reading can be thrown right out. We encourage Arbcom to assess the length and scope of Fram’s ban, based on the case materials that can be released to the committee. Let's start with the first two words: "We encourage". This is not a mandate, not a requirement, and not even particularly an aspirational statement. It's merely a suggestion, and taken in line with the previous sentence, which is unpacked to mean that T&S will be at ArbCom's disposal, makes clear that the intention is for ArbCom to not feel as though they cannot use the tools provided. The rest of the sentence, actually, if taken in the mandatory reading you seem to be implying, indicates that the only things ArbCom may review are the length and scope of the ban (i.e., whether 1 year is enough and whether just English Wikipedia is enough).
    Of course, continuing with your "compromise" analysis, the indications are clearly that the Board has already violated that compromise. They state that materials will be released to the Committee, which indicates that what can be released will be released. Instead, you have received a redacted document. There is no legal obligation for that redaction. In fact, the Privacy Policy makes clear (1) that it controls and (2) that information may be provided to community members as necessary for them to complete their tasks. Because it is necessary for you to receive that information in order to carry out your duties, you should have received an unredacted document. But WMF have failed to live up to this imposed "compromise". —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 11:13, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
    "You can have a case on the publicly available material, having an open evidence section where people can post evidence that they find and that they are willing to share, and then giving Fram (and others) to rebut the evidence": No, we already know that dealing with alleged harassment cases wholly in public is not acceptable to WMF, and there's a strong desire to improve the way we handle harassment (which we have handled badly, historically). Rejecting ArbCom's ability to keep confidential information confidential will simply eliminate the community's ability to deal with such cases and hand it back to WMF. And no, it seems pretty clear to me that a public-only Fram case will not be allowed to override the current Fram sanction - ArbCom now has the power to re-judge the case based on the submitted private evidence, but not to disallow that evidence. This escalating "no compromise" attitude I'm increasingly seeing will surely result in the worst possible outcome for us all. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 11:13, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
    ArbCom now has the power to re-judge the case based on the submitted private evidence, but not to disallow that evidence. Where in the world are you getting that from? —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 11:16, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
    It's my reading of the wording of the compromise statement, and subsequent comments from Jimmy, the board, and ArbCom. Should ArbCom disallow the redacted 70 pages of evidence provided by T&S and hold a case based solely on public evidence (or on anything else), WMF will not accept the outcome sure as eggs is eggs. If you think I'm wrong, wait and see. And we've already had two Arbs effectively telling us that breaching the compromise with the WMF would kill the case. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 11:27, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
    That is my reading of the replies from WMF as well, and the main reason that I have not asked my bit back. I don't feel that the community will agree with non-transparency, and I have to see whether another part of the community (and WMF) will agree with a fully transparent case and/or an unban of Fram. It was a difficult situation that WMF had to handle before the start of the ban, but I am afraid that the way that it was implemented was so utterly opaque that it is now FUBAR. --Dirk Beetstra T C 12:31, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
    This interpretation would not force ArbCom to choose between releasing all the evidence and not having a case. Instead, ArbCom could, if it wished, continue having a case, and not release all the evidence, but use only in making and choosing a proposed decision the part of the evidence that has been made public. Regardless, this is specifically about the Fram case, which I consider irrelevant to this RFC. — Rastus Vernon (talk) 18:49, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
    @Beetstra and Rastus Vernon: How would that possibly work? Are we supposed to forget that we've all already read the T&S document? Remember that ArbCom is made of human beings, not evidence-processing algorithms. – Joe (talk) 08:56, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
    @Joe Roe: that is a very troubling statement. Are you suggesting that the T&S document contaminated your judgement? --Dirk Beetstra T C 10:09, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
    Contaminated? It's a document full of information relevant to the case, which I now know. – Joe (talk) 20:30, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
    As I say in my comment above, let's see how this plays out. I'm curious to see what we will get next. --Dirk Beetstra T C 21:08, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Exceptionalism query - some above in the comments and some in the opposes, seem to argue that as the only compromise found between us and the WMF, this setup has to be tolerated for at least this case, even if it would not normally be. I'd like to ask whether they think that exceptionalism is permissible (morally and policy-wise), given a lack of any exception in ARBPOL or even an RfC to accept an abnormal case (which wouldn't normally override ABRPOL). I certainly see the arguments that if the case collapses, the WMF intervenes again and the nightmare is back. God I see it. Against that is a strong Fiat justitia ruat caelum attitude. I'm unsure how I feel and hope for some moral-based arguments. Nosebagbear (talk) 08:47, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
    I was typing something very similar to this in a more verbose manner but you said it, more elegantly:-) Thanks! WBGconverse 09:19, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
    I've been trying to same similar things too, but it's taken me far more words for far less precision and eloquence. Very well put, Nosebagbear. Boing! said Zebedee (talk) 11:20, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
    I think Nosebagbear hits this on the nose. (pun intended) While we are somewhat outside of the realm of precedent, we are not outside the scope of policy. I'm conflicted, in that I would not hold that exceptionalism is permissible, but also want this to be an opportunity to show that community processes are better (that is to say, more just) than T&S. WTT's interpretation may be taking a pragmatic solution, but using the T&S document as anything other than a signpost for where to dig in a real, transparent investigation which includes such basics as notification of all evidence and the right to respond smacks of exactly the same problems we had with T&S. This would seem to be a situation where there is a choice between doing what is right, and what is (comparatively) easy (not to imply that this situation is easy for any members of ARBCOM, as it clearly isn't). The question is, what do we do if, as Boing! expects, the WMF will not accept the outcome should ARBCOM disallow the T&S document as anything other than a fact-finding tool. LetUsNotLoseHearT 15:36, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
    The community could first work out what procedures it wants to adopt for handling anonymous complaints. This would mean leaving the current situation in abeyance until the appropriate policy and procedure changes have been made, though. The question is which is considered to be more urgent: providing a resolution sooner through an interim process, or getting a consensus agreement on a new process. isaacl (talk) 15:42, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
    @Nosebagbear and Winged Blades of Godric: ARBPOL allows us to hold private cases. Apart from the stipulation that parties must be given a reasonable opportunity to respond, there is no other guidance in policy as to their format. This means that we fall back on the provision of ARBPOL that "the Committee may create or modify its procedures, provided they are consistent with its scope." When WTT and I have said that this case is exceptional, what we mean is that while ArbCom technically can invent a procedure for private harassment cases on its own initiative, we don't want to do that: the issue is too important and complicated and needs to be put to the wider community. But we didn't have time to organise that before taking the Fram case, so we are making it up as we go along, trying to keep it as close to a "normal" case as possible, with no intention of creating precedent. – Joe (talk) 09:07, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
    Joe Roe, that fall-back-provision is a valid technical defense. ARBPOL allows you to modify your procedures at your own whims as much as the ToU (legally) facilitates WMF to evict Fram/you/me from their sites in a moment's notice w/o any minimal reasoning.
    At any case, I have a fair expectation that you will (at-least try to) do your job with utmost fairness and competence despite the fracas, this has been. Let's see. WBGconverse 10:05, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
    @Joe Roe and Winged Blades of Godric: - a couple of issues though, a) we have users above saying the setup isn't sufficient to meet reasonable, but needs to be done here (exact words vary, but it's a significant theme), it's not "reasonable as external pressure allows", reasonableness should be the same for all, b) if a protocol is generally too complicated for ARBCOM to create (or too in conflict with community norms), why is it permissable to do so for a single case at all? Is it fair for one individual to get the short stick? Those are the questions in play. On a personal front, I think I'd have more respect for those that handled the issue by openly arguing that yes, Fram is going to be hard done by, the process will be poorer than it should be, and his defence must be's why that should be tolerated. Nosebagbear (talk) 12:27, 2 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment Seems to me that the community has a simple choice. Accept this framework as the only approach available. Wait for the inevitable "time served" compromise decision by Arbcom in a few weeks or continue to dispute, debate and haggle and end up with a "time expired" decision in 10 1/2 months. Leaky caldron (talk) 11:40, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
  • I would argue that the only people with the authority to create binding interpretations of ArbPol is ArbCom itself --Guerillero | Parlez Moi 18:45, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
    • That would contradict its being a policy, since that is not how any policy works. — Rastus Vernon (talk) 19:02, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
    • As was pointed out above, ArbCom doesn’t do state decisis—its decisions and interpretations are not binding on subsequent cases. In any event, I don’t see what’s being done here as enacting a binding interpretation of the arbitration policy, but making clear the community’s understanding of that policy. The Committee may do with that what they wish, but they would be ill advised to ignore just how disappointed people are (cheerleaders excepted). —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 20:33, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
      • Except ARBCOM usually does follow its precedents, even if it doesn't specifically refer to them. As such, there's a reticence by many to let it make that first step in case it becomes a cast Nosebagbear (talk) 22:00, 1 August 2019 (UTC)
      • {[ec}} In other words, "we" (i.e. a few vocal editors) were very disappointed that the WMF refused to let us know who made the complaint(s) so we could lynch them (as well as the person we think most is most likely to have done so), and having gotten the ArbCom to take a look the same "we" are now even more disappointed that we still don't get to know if we've lynched the right person and if there is anybody else who needs lynching. Speaking for myself, it is not the arbitration committee whose actions disappoint me. Thryduulf (talk) 22:03, 1 August 2019 (UTC)

Note Comment: The RfC statement is not neutral and brief as it's advocating for a certain interpretation of WP:ARBPOL. @Only in death: you should move the paragraphs starting with It is my opinion... and There is no doubt... to your !vote. – Anne drew 23:42, 1 August 2019 (UTC)

  • Worm That Turned, or any other member of Arbom, can you please clarify the broad nature of the "secret evidence" are involved? My impression is that it is substantially or entirely a collection of ordinary publicly-visible diffs. Is this correct? Or does the evidence include things like off-wiki activities or on-wiki edits that were oversighted-for-good-cause? Or to phrase my question another way, if the case had been filed with Arbcom in the first place, without passing through the Foundations hands, would there have been any well-established well-accepted reason that you couldn't have handled it as a standard public-process Arbcom case? Alsee (talk) 16:18, 4 August 2019 (UTC)
    Alsee, I'm not going to go into details of what the T&S document includes, there is so much speculation and concern that anything I say will be over-analysed and quite probably misinterpreted. So, I'm going to focus on your alternate question. If the case had be brought in public, I expect we could have tried to handle it in public (with some private evidence). However, that does not necessarily make it the "right" forum for the case, per the Roger Davies quote Unlike real life situations, anyone can turn up and comment at an arbitration case. This produces an atmosphere totally unlike any real world situation. In some instances, it's called transparency; in sensitive issues, it's simply horrifically invasive. It is impossible to discuss private stuff publicly, no matter how cautiously, without the dots getting joined up or speculation/allegations running riot.
    If the case had been made to us in private directly by the individuals, I think there is a reasonable possibility would have considered a private case as private hearings have occurred in the past. However, I don't know how we would have handled it as we have less institutional memory on the committee from those times. The answer, however, is moot - because that's not what happened, the issues were not brought to us, they were brought to T&S. WormTT(talk) 10:54, 5 August 2019 (UTC)
  • Comment the rubric for this RfC says This is not intended to add, remove, change/alter the wording of ARBPOL, only answer the question 'Does the wording regarding private hearings support that evidence to be used against an editor should be disclosed to that editor in order that they can respond.' From some of the discussion it feels as though we have moved away from considering what the current words in the policy mean, and onto whether we think we would be better to have different words in the policy. I expect that if there is no consensus that the current wording means what SUPPORT !voters think it should mean, we’ll be coming onto that next. Mccapra (talk) 21:02, 5 August 2019 (UTC)
Comments on confusion, unfair wording, and misdirection: I support that a "private meeting" may have to take place. A complaint may be made where certain information has to be looked at to determine if there is a need for a protection of privacy, possible victim protection, or some sensitive information (private evidence) protected. That Wikipedia may not be a "legal system", based on US, Great Britain, or any other types, may be true but in avoiding chaos there has to be some system and the Wikipedia world will ultimately mirror what we know from the real world. We go from "private meeting", to "secret meeting" as mentioned by Bovlb above (in the support section), to "secret trials". The wording of the sections seems to throw things off. I support there may be a need for "ARBPOL Private Hearings" only to look at evidence to determine if there are grounds to move forward with privacy or protection issues.
"I oppose secret trials" or secret hearings (per comments found in the support comments above). I agree with "that 'reasonable opportunity to respond' requires disclosure of all evidence to the accused.". We can't mix words that some may seem as meaning the same thing when they in fact do not have the same meaning. There is a distinct difference in a private meeting or hearing, to examine issues and facts, and a "secret trial".
@Amakuru: Any move to "delegitimise" ArbCom would be out of order and even detrimental. Discussions (RFC's) for clarity, attempts to ensure policies are being adhered to, perform "checks and balances" (safety valve for our values), and to make sure well meaning and good faith editors do not go astray, are not out of order. Your statement, "The rules as currently written clearly do allow secret trials without presentation of evidence." simply blows my mind if it is fact over interpretation and you support this. This was commented on by Jimbo Wales way back on 29 June 2008: Wikipedia:Requests for comment/Arbitration Committee#Statement by Lawrence Cohen:

"I think the important statement has been made: no secret trials, and no convictions without giving the opportunity to present a defense. That's just basic justice, and I will overturn any ArbCom decision to the contrary. (Although, I should point out, there is ZERO chance of the ArbCom doing this in the first place.)"


  • Read that closely as it seems your statement is certainly at odds with those comments.
If anyone here thinks the WMF, T&S, or Jimbo Wales will not have serious concerns over "protecting victims", I fear they will be mistaken, especially if there are potential legal ramifications. There is no way in hell we can even pretend to make Wikipedia a better place, or a safer place, or a more inviting place to edit, without consideration of protection if this is violated. To me that is too simple. We cannot have a "secret police" or a "secret judgement system" and if that is what we have, and ArbCom agrees, then there is absolutely a need for change according to Mr. Wales' statement and assuming he still supports it.
I have seen comments where editors have concerns of facing retribution or retaliation from the WMF (maybe ArbCom or even T&S) for being in opposition or critical of them and I feel these are unfounded. If I thought for a second this was true this would be my last edit on Wikipedia. Until I see that Mr. Wales has ditched Wikipedia (bailed out completely or otherwise relinquishes any final say) I will consider his other apparent statement from 2004:

"The Arbitration Committee [...] can impose a solution that I'll consider to be binding, with of course the exception that I reserve the right of executive clemency and indeed even to dissolve the whole thing if it turns out to be a disaster. But I regard that as unlikely, and I plan to do it about as often as the Queen of England dissolves Parliament against their wishes, i.e., basically never, but it is one last safety valve for our values.


  • This seems to indicate he (Mr. Wales) retains some executive authority and I have not seen this recinded. If it is true, "The rules as currently written clearly do allow secret trials without presentation of evidence", this may be a case he needs to examine. I want to whole heartily support an ArbCom. I would like to see ArbCom, the WMF, and T&S work together for the betterment of the community and there not be an "us against them" mentality. I don't ever want there to be secret trials or a secret police and we (the Wikipedia community) needs to do whatever we can to ensure this does not happen. Surely Mr Wales faith in ArbCom has not been misplaced.
Moving forward, the direction of the T&S should be for the safety of the community and the public. It is important to remember that this Wikipedia community belongs to "all of us" and their decisions have to reflect this. It should be a paramount priority of Stewards to be the connecting point between the WMF (including T&S) and the community they represent.
Surely "no secret trials" would be just as applicable to T&S as ArbCom. Wikipedia is not a democracy but surely also not a Communist regime. Otr500 (talk) 12:30, 13 September 2019 (UTC)

This RFC seems based on a false dichotomy[edit]

The two alternatives it proposes are either supporting disclosure of all evidence, or supporting withholding of relevant evidence from the parties. I see comments in both the Support and Oppose sections that seem to be reaching for a middle ground. I'm going to try to develop a middle ground in this comment. But I do think legitimate the concern that the plan proposed for the case at hand (on its talk pages) may not fully satisfy the requirements of WP:ARBPOL, in that ArbCom does not seem to have ruled out the use of evidence that the parties cannot respond to when making their decision.

In a normal public case, people put a lot of information on the Evidence page, some portion of that is used to make Findings of Fact, and the Findings of Fact and the Principles are used to justify the Remedies. For a private case, I think we need that same chain of logic to exist. To satisfy the requirement that "the parties [...] be given a reasonable opportunity to respond", I think ArbCom would need to consider the Findings of Fact that they'd want to make based on the private Evidence submitted and identify the subset of that Evidence actually needed to support those Findings. The subset need not include things like the source of any of the pieces of evidence or the original complaints that led to the seeking of evidence if those things aren't relevant to the Findings. On the other hand, the subset should include any evidence that might serve to counter the Findings. They'd then present the subset of Evidence (but not necessarily the Findings) to the parties for comment. The commentary period should allow for back-and-forth discussion, such as the parties requesting additional context on some part of the evidence.

Particularly relevant to the case at hand, if for some reason they cannot present some piece of Evidence to the parties, they must not use that evidence to support any Finding. Instead they'd need to find other evidence to support the finding, or drop the potential finding. Yes, that will be a significant restriction in the case at hand since one entity was apparently allowed to submit far more than the usual 1000 words (or else they used a huge font for those 70 pages) and insists that none of it can be shared with the parties, but I think it's probably unavoidable if we want to maintain the legitimacy of the process. Similarly, if the parties state that they'd need more context on some evidence to adequately respond and ArbCom is not able/willing to supply that context, ArbCom should consider whether that brings the questioned evidence itself under the same cloud.

ArbCom would then need to reconsider only the presented Evidence plus the parties' comments to determine whether the Findings of Fact are still warranted and whether any additional Findings are appropriate. If they want to bring in any Evidence not in the original subset, they'd need to present that new evidence to the parties for comment and repeat the process. This iteration may take some time and should be expected when planning the process.

With this model we would need to trust that ArbCom won't become too tied to a provisional Finding that they accept it without sufficient Evidence remaining in the "admitted" subset or discount the parties' comments that might counter the Finding, that they'd be careful not to consider "unadmitted" evidence when reevaluating their Findings, and that they would themselves consider whether WP:BOOMERANG or the like might apply since the community can't do it for them.

IMO (and getting somewhat away from the topic of the RFC), ideally when they post the decision they should include the relevant subset of Evidence as well (possibly by writing it into each Finding). Also ideally, they should post a Proposed Decision for public review and comment rather than skipping directly to the Final Decision stage; while the final decision rests with ArbCom, the public comment stage could be useful to identify missing links in their posted reasoning. They might even run a hybrid private/public case, by preparing the "subset of Evidence" as described above but then posting it publicly on the Evidence page and proceeding from there as a public case. Anomie 23:33, 1 August 2019 (UTC)

I agree with the conclusion of this analysis. Arb com can consider private evidence that they cannot share with the community as background, and they can base their decision on material not shared with the community--but they cannot base a decision on material they cannot share with the accused. Evidence can be prejudiced or erroneous, and how can this be determined unless it can be challenged? The WMF has the power to force on us what rules it chooses, but that does not mean we have to co-operate with them when they are doing something outrageously unjust.
Even the English Tudor period trials for treason that found the parties guilty 99% of the time, presented them with the evidence. And there was an appeal (to the monarch, and it sometimes worked). DGG ( talk ) 21:15, 3 August 2019 (UTC)
I raised this same (headline) point on the talk page of the case, it was roundly ignored. Face-smile.svg I'm not sure I can be bothered to provide evidence, but if I do it will be public. At the moment I would be concerned to do this, in case there was an inappropriate reaction of "Oh noes! U broke the rulez!" All the best: Rich Farmbrough, 21:47, 9 August 2019 (UTC).
  • Since Arbcom have now confirmed that Fram wont actually be seeing *any* evidence provided by T&S to arbcom, what the oppose section above is now explicitly endorsing is the WMF's (through T&S) ability and willingness to collect 70-page dossiers of your activities and use them against you via Arbcom, and you will never be allowed to see the 'evidence', not even a summary. Just so we are clear that is what is currently happening right now. So when this does come back to bite you, no one can say you were not warned. Given the entirety of the evidence that has been provided to him is at best one or two pages copied verbatim from old complaints that were found to have no merit, can you still truthfully say he is being given a reasonable opportunity to respond to the accusations against him? When well over 90% of the evidence being considered is being deliberately withheld? Even by the standards of some of the oppose voters above, that is very very wrong. Only in death does duty end (talk) 10:05, 20 August 2019 (UTC)
  • I oppose because the process WFM designed T&S is unworkable. I agree with DGG above. Failure to provide the accusations and evidence to Fram corrupts T&S's case. The current T&S process can either can either hold evidence secret or sanction Fram—not both. This was foreseeable. If this case is really about incivility or bullying, the current T&S process is not a workable way to improve our collaborative environment. Perhaps the way forward for T&S should be to avoid sanctions and, as many have suggested, open a ARBCOM case. Neonorange (Phil) 07:34, 2 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Am I missing something: It seems that someone in the WMF or T&S agree that an ArbCom case be opened. It seems they went from "We have the ultimate and incontestable right" to final decisions, to a different approach being an ArbCom case. If ArbCom continues with secret trials, out of some T&S fear or other reasoning, then see my comments above from Mr. Wales. If he has changed his position then someone please show me where. Anomie your comments, "while the final decision rests with ArbCom" might be true it seems that ultimately this is because the community wishes this to be the direction. I would choose to be able to have faith that any decision they make would be fair and normally accept it as final. I think there may be evidence to suggest that a broad community consensus can reverse a decision it finds not acceptable though. Otr500 (talk) 12:48, 13 September 2019 (UTC)

Between Scylla and Charybdis[edit]

See Between Scylla and Charybdis and Dilemma.

In the US legal system there are two dangers to justice, and it can be difficult to avoid both dangers. Worse, some who comment on the US justice system focus on one danger while being seemingly unaware of the other.

DANGER ONE The witness is threatened or intimidated. You testify against the mob, the mob kills you and your family. The equivalent here is the implication by T&S that Fram did something details of which that they cannot reveal to Fram or to Arbcom (thus the redactions in the evidence Arbcom got) and that absolutely nothing about what T&S thinks Fram did can be revealed to the public (thus Arbcom repeatedly saying that they do not have permission to reveal anything in the T&S evidence.)

DANGER TWO: a clever complainant takes advantage of the possibility of danger one above to fabricate material that is good enough to convince the small number of judges/prosecutors who are allowed to see the details, and neither the accused or the public ever gets a chance to bring up counter-evidence not known to the prosecution.

In the US legal system we do not convict someone based upon evidence that they and their defense team are not allowed to see. Witnesses against the mob go into a federal witness protection system with a new identity. If the prosecution's case depends on material that is classified we let accused terrorists go unprosecuted rather than being convicted on evidence that they are not allowed to see. (Unless we keep them out of the US Justice system entirely by locking them up in a prison in Cuba, but that's another issue).

In the Fram case, I can think of an additional danger:
DANGER THREE: T&S actually does have compelling evidence against Fram, but the evidence is evidence that he did something that The Wikipedia community does not agree is a blockable offense. In this scenario T&S knows this, and that is why they don't want us to know why Fram was blocked.

Fram claims[18] "a few hours ago, they posted my one year ban, and helpfully gave the actual reason. Which is one edit, this one. That's it." No one has disagreed with Fram on this point and pointed to any other reason that T&S has chosen to reveal. Is there evidence that Fram actually wrote that? Sure. Is writing that it a "block immediately with no warning" offense by the rules of the English Wikipedia? Dubious at best. Now T&S seems to think they have evidence of some other wrongdoing that neither Fram or the public are allowed to examine, but that brings us back to danger two as well as danger three. --Guy Macon (talk) 14:55, 16 August 2019 (UTC)

One of the reasons that due process includes being notified of the charges against you is to avoid the rulemaker being able to alter the charge once the initial charge is shown to be groundless (and to pretend that that was the charge all along). If they claim to have evidence of some other charge, but didn't make this charge at the beginning, it's reasonable to assume that it's a case of this. Ken Arromdee (talk) 15:57, 16 August 2019 (UTC)
What if Fram was right all along? Fram wrote[19]
  • "That I just happen to be one of the most vocal and efficient critics of the WMF is probably a pure coincidence"
  • "No evidence at all that the enwiki community tried and failed to address these issues... No, an edit expressing widefelt frustration with an ArbCom post is sufficient to ban me."
  • "Basically, this one-year ban is at the same time a means to silence one of their most vocal (and fact-based, consistently supporting WMF criticism with many examples of what goes wrong) critics"
If Fram is right, am I at risk for posting things like Wikipedia has Cancer, 13 years and RfC: Wikimedia referrer policy? --Guy Macon (talk) 17:11, 16 August 2019 (UTC)
Fram is understandably pissed off, but don't take any of his wilder speculation too seriously. If this was genuinely an attempt by the WMF to silence a critic it was a singularly incompetent attempt, given that they explicitly allowed him to continue to edit Meta—the one place where complaining about the WMF actually has an impact. Other than a couple of bans earlier this year on German Wikipedia this was AFAIK the first time ever that T&S have banned someone and not removed editing privileges from Meta, so it's not as if this wasn't a conscious decision. ‑ Iridescent 17:23, 16 August 2019 (UTC)
(edit conflict) Honestly, I don't think it matters if we're actually at risk for criticizing WMF. The fact is that by wrapping this in layer after layer of secrecy when Fram happens to be a vocal critic has created the appearance of such risk. And really, it touches on a fourth risk not mentioned above, and additional reason for transparency: The need for people to actually know, and feel confident that they do know, the reasons and circumstances in which "the axe will fall".
Playing devil's advocate here (the devil being—in my view, rightly—the WMF) it's entirely possible that we've all been led down the garden path by a clever Fram, who has taken advantage of our suspicion of secret processes and the WMF, which is made all the worse by the fact that WMF can't now credibly claim that they didn't do Fram wrong—because WMF lacked the candor to be forthcoming with any information, which they could have done while protecting the complainant. So even if Fram is an awful person—and based on what I've seen, he's far from a saint—WMF's bungle here has created an atmosphere of fear. It has created an environment very similar to the one they seek to prevent by protecting complainants: Instead of people being fearful to complain about other editors, they become fearful to complain about WMF. Sure, everything at WP:FRAM can be waved at as a counterexample, but that's cold comfort, and really an oversimplification of these kinds of systems. A malevolent WMF wouldn't crush opposition openly, as that would just fan the flames of dissent. A malevolent WMF will bide its time and watch until each one of us makes a mistake, whether it's swearing in a post, arguing a little too forcefully, or reviewing one too many edits of another person. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 17:35, 16 August 2019 (UTC)

Wikipedia:Manual_of_Style - a contradiction in the use of Capital_letters[edit]

The Manual of Style seems to contradict itself in MOS:THECAPS, something which needs changing. It states the following: In English-language titles, every word is capitalized, except for articles, short coordinating conjunctions, and short prepositions. First and last words within a title, including a subtitle, are capitalized regardless of grammatical use. This is known as title case. Capitalization of non-English titles varies by language. This is not applied to Wikipedia's own articles, which are given in sentence case: capitalize the first letter, and proper names (e.g., List of selection theorems, Foreign policy of the Hugo Chávez administration).

It's the case that the Engineering / naval conventions of using caps for titles is not covered by Wiki guidelines, and of course it should be. Yet song titles are. At the very least engineering design titles should be allowed to be capitalized.

Look here at List of patrol vessels of the United States Navy you can see the thinking behind how the USN defines designators for vessels of this type. It is consistent. First (the useage), second (the qualifier), third (a further method of subdivision). Example PHM, Patrol Missile Hydrofoil. You can see the applied logic through all the designators listed, and they are in caps.

The guidelines state that you can use title case for titles of works (e.g. books, musical compositions), not titles of WP articles on random things, which use sentence case, not title case. I would argue that there are other things too that classify as works, for example engineering classes and types, and bespoke metal fabrications (are works too) they are the same status in the real world as a book. They have titles, they have names.

How can there be an objection to using caps for classes of ships or engineered products when there is a project page entitled Wikipedia:Manual of Style/Capital letters? the very title of the policy itself contradicts its own content. How can Motor torpedo boat PT-109 be correct when it is a particular of Motor Torpedo Boat.

The project is in English. We need to conform to the English language, and not the other way round. If this Under My Thumb can be an exception then so should drawing / engineering titles. Which are of course works.

Why cant the policy be changed to follow the acknowledged rules of the English language? Broichmore (talk) 11:58, 13 August 2019 (UTC)

English is a weird language... the “acknowledged rules of the English language” are often self-contradictory. Also, there is often debate about what the rules actually are. Blueboar (talk) 14:46, 13 August 2019 (UTC)
I would not consider a designations like "Patrol Missile Hydrofoil" as a title. It is more a proper noun, which is covered under different MOS rules and allows for it to be fully titled when speaking about the classification. Titles more refer to the title of a book, movie, article, etc. and not designations as titles. --Masem (t) 14:45, 13 August 2019 (UTC)
There are many misconceptions about what a proper noun/name is, including a false view of equivalence between capitalisation (a matter of orthography) and what is a proper noun (a matter of onomastics and grammar). A proper noun is not descriptive yet such a designation is. Consequently, asserting that this disignation is a "title" actually has more merit than asserting it is a "proper name". My version of Fowler (2nd Ed, 1990 reprint) refers to capitalisation of titles in such a way as to make them separate from proper nouns (section on capitalisation). This type of military double-back speak (Boat, Patrol, Torpedo) is a designation format (complete with the capitalisation of which the military is fond). It is used in equipment tables and like for everything from the common nail upward (nail, bullet-head, 10 ga, 2 in long, wire, plated). While a "designation" may be considered a synonym of "title", it is not a "title" in the same sense of the guidance on titles of works. Further, if it were the title, it would (probably) be written by the designation, Boat, Patrol, Torpedo, and not Patrol Torpedo Boat, since the latter may be common usage but is unlikely the formal designation. The OP's proposition only has any chance of being compelling if it is used as the title of a work and I am not yet seeing any evidence that would support the arguement being made that it is. Regards, Cinderella157 (talk) 00:59, 14 August 2019 (UTC)
I realize that this to many is a trivial matter at the end of the day. Clearly there is insufficient interest to get the numbers to make a needed policy change. This came from a discussion at Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Ships#Motor Torpedo Boat PT-109 and other such boats here on the very subject of using caps in the title of a work.
Making changes to the English language on stylisation grounds, instituting a rule where there was not one before is akin to original research. I'm astounded that Dicklyon is getting away it. Broichmore (talk) 11:41, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
It's not clear to me what rule, or changes to English, you think I'm making. Dicklyon (talk) 14:10, 21 August 2019 (UTC)
What part of my opening paragraph do you not understand. Shortened version here. In English-language titles, every word is capitalized, except for articles, short coordinating conjunctions, and short prepositions. First and last words within a title, including a subtitle, are capitalized regardless of grammatical use. This is known as title case. Broichmore (talk) 12:53, 24 August 2019 (UTC)
Are you saying that all our article titles should be in title case? Blueboar (talk) 13:28, 24 August 2019 (UTC)
No I'm not. However, If there is no rule in the English language for it, then we are not the people to enforce an arbitrary one, and one of our own making. Wikipedia contains articles about things; unique things and common things. It's a judgement call by the originator on whether its capped or not. To my mind if its a unique one off then it could be capitalised, if not then not. If a navy titles its boats sometimes in caps and sometimes in small, then we could use whatever, though I would veer towards caps. Notice I'm talking about tiles here, in particular, as opposed to the body of an article. In my experience the perhaps unwritten rule is to use caps or small, but to be consistent on a page, and that would include disambiguation pages. Broichmore (talk) 14:10, 26 August 2019 (UTC)
What i'm getting from the discussion here and at the Ship's forum is that there is no fast rule as such in the English language covering the use of caps for titles though its common practice.
If there is a rule (rather publishing practise) on this topic then it's to be consistent on a page. It's not the projects remit to creatively make rules for the language; which is unofficially Oxford University's if not the Queen's privilege.
So the policy should be changed to reflect that? Broichmore (talk) 17:14, 29 August 2019 (UTC)
Over at the ships's forum Dicklyon tells us: I don't think I'm proposing any changes. I just go by WP:NCCAPS and MOS:CAPS. Most new articles get created with title-case titles whether they're proper names or not, so there's always work to do.
Yes indeed, he carries on with an agenda sanctioned only by himself, something that is unwanted and against the norm of the English language as we know it. Does he honestly think that every creator of an article doesn't put thought into the style of the title. So every time he change the case he's doing something without that persons agreement. Many against the one it would see, as he admits himself. Some of us know when to let stupid rules lie.
This whole thing is yet another instance of where we make a laughing stock out of ourselves. I have more respect for someone who does something valuable in the name of style such as correcting the apostrophe s.
Should not our rule be changed to You can use caps or small, but to be consistent on a page, and that would include disambiguation pages? From what Dicklyon says this would already have consensual agreement if most new articles are titled in caps. Broichmore (talk) 10:43, 5 September 2019 (UTC)

Native American Controversy[edit]

Has there been a resolution on WP of the Native American name controversy? There are some editors who use, or insist on using, the word Indian. This word is considered pejorative or racist by some. It is also inexact in an internationally available site or publication, as it refers to persons of the sub continent.Oldperson (talk) 01:04, 2 September 2019 (UTC)

Since no one else has commented, I'll offer my opinion. Oldperson, what you have linked to is an article describing common usage that is not necessarily followed here on en.wikipedia. I don't know what the official policy is in referring to Native Americans -- or if WP has one. (If one needs to be created, I don't see that will be a harmonious discussion.) If you are asking because you need to refer to these people in an article, my advice is to follow your instincts, & if you're wrong someone will volunteer to set you straight. (Hopefully in a respectful manner.) -- llywrch (talk) 18:31, 4 September 2019 (UTC)
You are correct Llywrch Words that have controversial social implications evoke intense feelings, especially amongst those whose bias underpins their identity and helps inform their world view. Myself, I have no intention of using the word"Indian",simply because there are some in that ethnic group that consider it analogous to the"N" word. I also know that others, especially some elders, don't share that opinion. But I have received an answer on RfC and consider it (currently) acceptable. I also know that there is a large segment of the American population, that intensely resents not using the "N" word, using as an excuse that "blacks use it why can't I", the answer should be obvious. The same situation arises with the word "queer". Gays use it amongst themselves but object when the outside community uses it to describe them. The "N" word and "queer" are used as wounding , demeaning and hateful epithets when hurled or used by those not in the community. However those inside the community use them as a means of immunizing themselves against the use, sometimes as a form of endearment,but simply because they too are members the word cannot be used to demean, subjugate, harm or shame. Oldperson (talk) 19:08, 4 September 2019 (UTC)

Petition to Amend the Arbitration Policy: Interim Elections[edit]

Since several people have mentioned this both at the current election RfC and I believe elsewhere, I think it is worth opening a discussion to amend the Arbitration Policy's provisions on elections. I am proposing adding the following the the Arbitration Policy.


If 20% of arbitrators (rounded up to the next whole number) resign or are removed from the arbitration committee before 1 September, automatic interim elections are to be held following whatever process the community has established for interim elections. No interim election shall be held on or after 1 September in a given year unless called by motion of the Arbitration Committee.

Petition signatures[edit]

  1. First noting that this is a petition to hold a ratification RfC, not a ratification RfC itself. A few people have brought this up at the current election RfC, and now seems as good a time as ever to make the amendment. The September 1 deadline seems sensible assuming that an abbreviated process is in place as has been proposed by me at the ACE RfC and looks likely to pass (~1 month election for 4 month term isn't bad.)
    Basically, while I am very much usually on team "give ArbCom the benefit of the doubt", even with a procedure in place to call interim elections, I think it is unlikely that a future committee would, and that having an automatic trigger in place would be helpful.
    I am not including inactive arbs, because they can always return to activity, and if the inactivity is bad enough, they can be removed from the committee, which would also have the affect of calling an election. I also think as this has been a concern of the community about this ArbCom, having the amendment come from the community is ideal. TonyBallioni (talk) 04:48, 2 September 2019 (UTC)
  2. Beyond My Ken (talk) 05:59, 2 September 2019 (UTC)
  3. —/Mendaliv//Δ's/ 07:08, 2 September 2019 (UTC)
  4. I think that this is the only effective way to keep ArbCom elections as impartial as possible, and is the best way to keep ArbCom as involved in the election process as little as possible. OhKayeSierra (talk) 07:53, 2 September 2019 (UTC)
  5. MJLTalk 20:47, 2 September 2019 (UTC)
  6. John M Wolfson (talkcontribs) 02:26, 3 September 2019 (UTC)
  7. There are valid concerns, but on the balance, I support. I would similarly support a change along the lines of what WereSpielChequers outlines below (yes, I know this is just a petition, not the RfC for the actual change). Vanamonde (Talk) 22:06, 3 September 2019 (UTC)
  8. Presuming that concerns over the exact provision to be ratified will be worked out in due course, I certainly support initiating the process. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 16:26, 4 September 2019 (UTC)
  9. 20% may be too low, but having procedure ready when we risk running a case with a really low number of Arbs (7 or less) is wisdom. (I know this is a petition, not an RfC). --Dirk Beetstra T C 19:04, 4 September 2019 (UTC)
  10. We can debate the number, but something should be done. Calidum 22:12, 4 September 2019 (UTC)
  11. I think there should be interim elections from time to time in a way other than ArbCom calling them, details to be worked out.--Wehwalt (talk) 22:16, 4 September 2019 (UTC)
  12. This is a process moving forward. See comments below. Otr500 (talk) 13:12, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
  13. Fine. We do need other ways of replacing arbitrators, however; and as this is a petition to kick off the process, I shall hold my tongue (for once). Javert2113 (Siarad.|¤) 14:06, 7 September 2019 (UTC)


  • I know this is just at the petition stage, but I express to know my intention to oppose should it ever reach the ratification stage. I am hopeful that the current proposal allowing for snap elections will pass. I would then prefer to count on ArbCom to do the right thing in calling elections when appropriate than dictate that they must do so. Best, Barkeep49 (talk) 05:13, 2 September 2019 (UTC)
    • To be blunt, I don't think any ArbCom will ever call for emergency elections. I think having procedures in place for them is a needed step in the right direction, but that an amendment to the policy taking the choice out of their hands is the final step in that reform.
      At least one previous arb has expressed to me in private their view that it is better to have someone elected and go inactive for 2 years than to have someone "unfit" on the committee, and I get the impression that while this may be an extreme view, the general outlook by most arbs would be against it because of the uncertainty. This is understandable because ArbCom by it's nature breeds conservatism, but probably the one thing I do not trust the committee on is determining anything to do with ArbCom elections. TonyBallioni (talk) 05:17, 2 September 2019 (UTC)
      • Which is why ArbCom hands off that responsibility in the regular elections to the Electoral Committee - but I don;t think we want to hold over the EC and have them decide if their should be an interim election, so an amedment seems like a good idea. Can I ask where the 20% figure originated? Beyond My Ken (talk) 05:38, 2 September 2019 (UTC)
        • It's 3 arbs, which for 15 or 13 seems like a reasonable number. Making it a percentage just makes it scale if the size changes: i.e. if we ever had 18 arbs again, we'd need 4 resignations before we went through an election. TonyBallioni (talk) 05:40, 2 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Doesn't this create the risk of bad incentives for arbs who might otherwise resign and under this system choose to remain long-term inactive on the committee? Kevin (aka L235 · t · c) 08:58, 2 September 2019 (UTC)
    • That’s already the case, so I don’t see it as really changing anything. To address Nosebsgbear’s comment below as well, the problem of inactivity is that someone could return to activity after a long absence (DQ did her final term), so in my view it makes sense to focus on actual resignations and not the inactivity issue, which I view as basically unsolvable since any solution to it I’ve thought of has more negatives than positives. TonyBallioni (talk) 13:38, 2 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Failure to resign is going to be a big issue here. Something like this may need to be tied with something like "3 months inactivity is an automatic resignation" Nosebagbear (talk) 09:26, 2 September 2019 (UTC)
  • 20% means that simply increasing the number of Arbs to allow for resignations doesn't prevent elections even if it does solve the problem; better would be to set a quorum. 1st Sept is so close to the normal Arb elections that there is an argument for not holding a fresh election that close to the normal election. The solution to inactive v resignations is to treat them the same, and indeed recusals. My alternative would be to pick a quorum, the absolute minimum below which Arbcom can't go on a case. The number has to be odd, for obvious reasons. I'd suggest three, but you could go with five, or "all decisions must be by majority, with at least three in support" Which would mean that three could still act, but only where they were unanimous. That would mean that three arbs could still do uncontentious acts such as emergency desysops in clearcut cases. Putting a date in things is sensible, but in the opposite sense of the suggestion. If you are less than x months from the next election then cases can be put on hold for the next Arbcom, more than that and a fresh election makes sense. So a simple rule would be, If Arbcom is unable to get five arbs to sit on a case then a special election will be held for all vacant seats. Unless elections are due within four months. A more complex rule would be All Arbcom majority decisions must have at least three arbs in support. If the majority in an arbcom decision does not include at least three arbs, then a special election will be held for all vacant seats, unless the usual elections are due within four months That should solve the underlying problem. ϢereSpielChequers 10:46, 2 September 2019 (UTC)
    • Well, assuming abbreviated procedures pass (as they look likely to do) a one month election starting in mid-August for three new arbs for 4 months sounds reasonable to me personally. TonyBallioni (talk) 13:38, 2 September 2019 (UTC)
  • I suspect it will be gamable no matter what we do. Personally, I would like to see a regularly-scheduled election to fill vacancies for midyear. It won't solve all the problems but there would be less heat generated from than a once-in-a-while special election. And it would keep numbers up.--Wehwalt (talk) 10:54, 2 September 2019 (UTC)
    Is the exact Arbcom number so tightly constrained that we have to have six monthly elections? If so we could double the number of tranches and hold elections six monthly. I suspect that the opposite actually applies, Arbcom number can vary quite a bit without the system breaking down, and we just need a rule for the once in a decade scenario where a mid year election is needed. ϢereSpielChequers 11:00, 2 September 2019 (UTC)
    If we are filling vacancies as a routine every six months, we can probably make do with fewer arbitrators.--Wehwalt (talk) 11:14, 2 September 2019 (UTC)
  • I don't like this. I haven't discussed with the current committee in particular, but at least some of them have said in public that they considered an interim election this year and the problem was the time it would take, not the will to do it. So the proposal at the ACE RfC to streamline interim elections is a good one. I'm not convinced we need to force elections when we are down from fifteen to twelve arbs (assuming the committee is put back to fifteen members this year). This year, this change would have forced an election with the resignation of Callanecc on 19 August; would an automatically-forced election in the middle of WP:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Fram have been helpful to the community? I doubt it. Actually, I think interim elections are so likely to be disruptive to the community that they should only be held in extreme circumstances. The conservatism of the committee on this point is a good thing.
    I also have a technical comment on the proposal: It is all very well saying "automatic interim elections are to be held" but who is to be responsible for making them happen? The current committee? The bureaucrats? The last year's electoral commission? The arbitration clerks? Anyone who WP:BOLDly goes ahead and has a go at creating the nomination pages? GoldenRing (talk) 12:00, 2 September 2019 (UTC)
I have no doubt that such things would be discussed and settled if the proposal ever went forward. As is usual.--Wehwalt (talk) 12:39, 2 September 2019 (UTC)
Yes, we’d have had new elections when Callanecc resigned. Under an abbreviated procedure, this wouldn’t really have been an issue as we’d have a new arb in around a month with 3 months to serve. As for who calls them, any random member of the community acting boldly. Mz7 has organized the last 3 ACEs in this capacity without any formal authority from the community. All you’d need is one person to start the page and post on the previous election commissions page to see if they were up for it, and it’d be good. Also as Wehwalt says, we’d figure specific details out after passage which is how every other policy works. TonyBallioni (talk) 13:38, 2 September 2019 (UTC)
Or move up the designation of the electoral committee. But as I said, given you top off the tank every six months, you don't need as big a ArbCom.--Wehwalt (talk) 14:01, 2 September 2019 (UTC)

Regarding the triggering threshold: in March I had suggested a quorum of 3/4 of the full committee, although for the purpose under discussion at the time, it was based on active arbitrators (so inactive arbitrators didn't count towards the quorum). I think 80% is a bit high and would prefer a lower one. isaacl (talk) 18:19, 2 September 2019 (UTC)

@isaacl: I'd love to work on this in the future with you if given the chance after this latest election is over. –MJLTalk 20:49, 2 September 2019 (UTC)
  • @Isaacl: - I'd be game for having a more detailed discussion on. I think a more detailed consideration will be needed. On the plus side, so long as we don't lose 3 new arbs immediately after the election, it shouldn't be a problem to take our time Nosebagbear (talk) 10:46, 3 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Per other comments above, I tend to think that this would create as many problems as it might solve. --Tryptofish (talk) 23:22, 2 September 2019 (UTC)
  • I would rather this be a community-initiated process rather than an automatic one, and I would rather it be a particular quorum rather than a proportion. Allowing for a community issued snap-election in the same way we do arbitration policy amendments might work: someone puts forth a petition, if it's signed by X number of editors elections are held. As for the quorum, I would rather it be a specific number that represents the minimum number of arbitrators we think are needed for the committee to work effectively. I'd ballpark that at around 10 arbs. If this went up for ratification, I would probably support as a compromise, but I wouldn't sign on to a petition that didn't address these issues. Wug·a·po·des​ 23:17, 3 September 2019 (UTC) To clarify based on Ivanvector's comment below, this definitely should not be interpreted as a recall process for the points they bring up. Any community-initiated component should be to only fill vacant seats; no sitting arbitrator should be replaced, only empty seats filled. Wug·a·po·des​ 23:13, 5 September 2019 (UTC)
Doing a petition first and then an election makes this a multi month process. That's not the ideal way of solving current problems. But , personally, I think it would be simpler just to restore the earlier size orf arb com, so they expected resignations andi nactivity do not present such a problem. DGG ( talk ) 06:34, 4 September 2019 (UTC)
I definitely think increasing the size is the best solution to our current problems. But I think Tony makes a good point that any ArbCom is unlikely to initiate snap elections on their own, so I don't see this so much as a solution for our current problems regarding size, but trying to fix the system of snap elections in general. Wug·a·po·des​ 02:52, 5 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Hmm, without having read all the comments I just proposed this in the elections RfC, and it may be out of scope. I'd prefer if the bar were higher and certainly a percentage rather than an absolute, but maybe this needs more input from folks who have served on the Committee. I also think there ought to be a provision to declare an arb resigned if they have been inactive (as defined in ARBPOL) for an extended period, say 91 days. I also think it's quite important that this not become a "recall" process, i.e. there should not be a way for the community to trigger an interim election. As we've seen this year, some controversial but necessary Committee actions attract mobs of disgruntled editors, and we can reasonably predict it will not be less drama if those mobs obtain the ability to force an election. Ivanvector (Talk/Edits) 16:20, 4 September 2019 (UTC)
  • That we need a solution is without question. A "recall", as some knee-jerk reaction, could be possible but I like the idea of some automatic trigger. I also am not opposed to an idea that would include replacing long-term inactive members. This would likely only be a necessity if there was already a shortage due to resignations right? Otr500 (talk) 13:20, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
  • I'm strongly against any automatic election as circumstances may not be right. I also find 20% to be too low WormTT(talk) 10:06, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
Worm That Turned what "circumstances may not be right"? Here is what I see, 1)- It seems there has been a lack of active ArbCom members, 2)- ArbCom has never called a special election and likely may not in the future (please see #3), 3)-ArbCom should not make decisions regarding their own elections, 4)- The current timeline for any special election is too long. Preventative "rules", like "automatic triggers", can prevent any circumstances like #1, 2, and 3, from happening, and #4 would be minimized .
It would seem a mandated policy a better idea than "community issued snap-elections". Cases, especially those of utmost importance, should never have to be refused or remanded because there are not enough ArbCom members. I think the community expects a system to work and when it doesn't a solution needs to be explored. If an ArbCom member becomes inactive, without a clear timeline of returning, it would seem a no brainer at some point (91 days?) to consider that ArbCom member resigned instead of a "that is just how it goes and is expected" mentality. If 20% seems too low then explore 25%. The lower number would be better if current ArbCom seats are retained but if increased then a higher percentage would seem to be better. The main thing would be to prevent extreme circumstances or the "once in a decade scenario" (per WereSpielChequers) from becoming detrimental so a higher number could be a buffer. I also think the "complex rule" suggested by WSC to be worthy of consideration. Concerns of GoldenRing are important to consider but I think able to be solved by clarification. It would seem that an election committee should be considered to serve over the entire election timeline and certainly could be used to initiate or enforce special election mandates.
Would not the community actually always be able to initiate a recall or "trigger an interim election" as mentioned by Ivanvector? If not then where is this prohibition recorded?
TonyBallioni How would a long term inactivity being considered a resignation create more negatives than positives? I am sure we don't elect members with the expectation that it be alright if they just fill a seat while being inactive. Otr500 (talk) 09:18, 16 September 2019 (UTC)
@Otr500: In principle the community could trigger a recall or an election, but that would have to be done via an amendment to WP:ARBPOL. That requires a petition signed by at least one hundred editors and then a majority vote with at least one hundred editors in support; the very process we're going through here, in fact. Historically I think it's been quite difficult to get through this process, and it would certainly be difficult to get through it quickly. For a recent example, the amendment following the incident that provoked Ivanvector's protest against this year's committee managed 22 support votes and even the RfC above related to WP:FRAM on private evidence above has only 27 supporting it. In practice, things have to be really, really bad for a community petition of this sort to succeed without the support of the current committee. GoldenRing (talk) 11:53, 16 September 2019 (UTC)
  • I see automatic elections on the drop of an arb to cause more problems than it solves. For example, single issue candidates, and lower quality candidates generally. Inter-year elections are likely to be shorter and therefore have less participation, meaning the robust scrutiny is reduced.
    I might be absolutely wrong on those concepts, but I doubt I would be the only one with those worries - so let's see how that fear turns out. Arbs are less likely to actually resign, but instead go long term inactive, masking the problem and the likelihood of actual elections. The committee might not remove a problematic arb or have to visibly damage the reputation of a problematic arb because their removal might trigger an election where they might come back in (or be replaced by other problematic candidates). As I say - I do not see an upside to automatic elections, especially at the threshold quoted (I may well support at 50% rounded up - by which point my concerns become irrelevant as the functioning size of the committee has reduced so far). NB by "problematic candidate", I mean "arb who has to be removed for cause", which is more common than I'd like to admit. WormTT(talk) 14:11, 16 September 2019 (UTC)
Thanks. So "!voter turnout" more than likely contributes to the status-quo. I am not sure the actual definition or what constitutes "really, really bad". I can understand a possible need for an instance when it might be needed to examine "private evidence", but if there is any remote possibility that it entails secret hearings as "trials" it would seem everyone would be alarmed, YET -- an administrator stated, ""The rules as currently written clearly do allow secret trials without presentation of evidence.". This blows my mind. If the broad community does not equate this to "really, really bad" I guess they deserve what they get or there needs to be a better advertising method. I would question the validity of such a rule having received the required 100 votes. It was clearly not the intention when ArbCom was set up as indicated by quotes from the founder shown here. My protest would be asking a future question of ArbCom candidates if they agree with secret trials as I would think this important. Otr500 (talk) 12:51, 16 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Note of clarification: My comments in the preceding paragraph were specifically concerning "rules for private hearings" especially as "secret trials" and not specifically ArbCom recalls. I think a large number important concerning the possibility of changing an election. I might likely not agree with many decisions ArbCom makes but would think few would want to run if a smaller number of upset editors could result in a recall. Otr500 (talk) 14:17, 16 September 2019 (UTC)
  • On the general issue: it very often happens that 20% or so will have resigned during the year--typically due to their outside life rather than anything on-wiki. It doesn't greatly affect the committee. It is also the practice for arbs to go inactive when they will be away for a month or two, partly as a security measure. It doesn't affect the committee's work. The problem is when we get down by 40% or so. This may never happen again, but it would be good to have some provision for it. DGG ( talk ) 00:18, 19 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Why don't we do what the government does and simply take the next candidate who would have been elected in the previous election? Hawkeye7 (discuss) 02:05, 19 September 2019 (UTC)

Interpretation of WP:MOS[edit]

Is there anything in Wikipedia documentation that specifies how documents like WP:MOS are supposed to be interpreted? My natural tendency is to assume something like "anything not explicitly forbidden is allowed", but during the discussions that led to the External Links RFC above, I was told that I shouldn't use external links in a bibliography section without first requesting consensus here at WP:VPP, even though a careful read of the MOS showed that nothing prohibited such usage. Which is more like "everything is forbidden which is not explicitly allowed". I'd be curious if there's anything specific in WP documentation that addresses this (other than WP:Ignore all rules :-) ).

I am planning to do some small tweaks to the MOS to clarify external links usage, based on the comments/consensus in the External Links RFC. If anyone has suggestions on the preferred way to proceed, I'd be interested. I'll reread WP:Consensus before doing anything. Thanks. Finney1234 (talk) 18:19, 2 September 2019 (UTC)

Editors are encouraged to be bold, but they're also expected to follow the spirit of the rules, not a literal reading. We don't exhaustively list everything that you're not supposed to do. If the MOS says not to use italics for quotations, you shouldn't use oblique type, either. On the other hand, if there's a situation where not italicizing the quotation will cause readers to be confused, you can ignore that guideline. So, be bold but don't wikilawyer. NinjaRobotPirate (talk) 08:39, 3 September 2019 (UTC)
I'd say as with most everything else, if a consensus of editors finds that your interpretation of a guideline is wrong, then the project will side with the consensus. Breaking a guideline is, in isolation, no big deal. If the consensus is to follow the guideline and revert the editor who broke it, still no big deal. Only when this becomes a frequent occurrence with one editor do admins need to get involved. Though one bit of advice, you really shouldn't be writing posts on talk pages as if you have the authority to close, conclude or otherwise determine the outcome of a discussion you were a part of. You don't have the authority anyway, so it just looks weird, and others may have a less charitable interpretation. Someguy1221 (talk) 09:55, 3 September 2019 (UTC)
Hi Someguy1221: FWIW, my (unofficially) "concluding" the discussion in Talk:Siemon_Muller was based on discovery of text in the MOS which explicitly permitted what I'd been arguing for (and thus consensus had previously been reached on the topic). Up till that point, I'd repeatedly pointed out that nothing in the MOS prohibited the use of external links in a "Publications" section, but to no avail. The online books section made it clear that the removal of external links on May 22 in Siemon Muller was, in fact, an explicit documented violation of the MOS. So it wasn't simply me trying to enforce my opinion.
BTW, as I said, I will carefully re-read WP:Consensus before doing anything to resolve the External Links RFC, but if you can give me any suggestions as to the proper way to proceed I'd appreciate it. A month hasn't expired yet, but the discussion has been quiet, and there seems to be a fairly clear consensus on the major issue (external links are allowed) and some variation on a minor issue (how the links in a Publications should be formatted). However, I realize that my perception of the consensus outcome has a conflict of interest :-). Finney1234 (talk) 22:43, 3 September 2019 (UTC)
  • "anything not explicitly forbidden is allowed": Absolutely not! Per MOS:STYLEVAR, follow the set standard, unless there are absolutely compelling reasons to not follow, in which case, get consensus first. Thanks, Lourdes 13:35, 3 September 2019 (UTC)
That's true for established article which have a set style on a particular matter, not so much for new articles, or those where the question hasn't arisen before. Johnbod (talk) 15:53, 3 September 2019 (UTC)
Yes John, for new articles, I quote the two principles from Arbcom:
  1. "The Manual is prescriptive in areas that enjoy broad consensus; where there is no such consensus, the available options are described, but no prescriptive guidance is provided. Editors are expected to follow the Manual of Style, although it is not policy and editors may deviate from it with good reason."
  2. "Wikipedia does not mandate styles in many different areas; these include (but are not limited to) American vs. British spelling, date formats, and citation style. Where Wikipedia does not mandate a specific style, editors should not attempt to convert Wikipedia to their own preferred style, nor should they edit articles for the sole purpose of converting them to their preferred style, or removing examples of, or references to, styles which they dislike."
In my opinion, any good reasoned exceptional deviation from the guideline or introduction of a new style (not explicitly forbidden) should be discussed before getting implemented, even for new articles. Thanks, Lourdes 00:20, 4 September 2019 (UTC)
I find this question odd. First, my understanding of the purpose of WP:MOS is simply to save volunteer time & energy thru avoiding edit wars over trivial & WP:LAME matters. However, there have been a number of people who frequent that part of Wikipedia who believe WP:MOS must be prescriptive & have added a lot of text there. (Or so I'm told. I haven't looked at that part of Wikipedia since before my oldest daughter was born; she will be 12 next February. I simply follow the guidelines set forth in my copy of the MLA Style Manual, look to examples in FA & GA class articles, & have yet to encounter any serious push back.)
Second, no Manual of Style will cover every possible situation, so one will be confronted on occasion with a situation that requires some thought & individual judgment. Hopefully, one will arrive at a solution that meets with community approval; if not, well, we Wikipedians are known for our willingness to discuss matters. Sometimes we discuss things too much.
Lastly, almost everyone who contributes to Wikipedia comes with at least a rough idea of what style a Wikipedia article should have. There are dicta any manual of style must assume its user to know or accept, & these will not be explicitly defined; these dicta are gathered under the rubric known as common sense. So the best answer I can give to you is simply, "What do you think?" -- llywrch (talk) 19:58, 4 September 2019 (UTC)
llywrch FYI, my own concern is that (if I'm not mistaken), WP:MOS effectively *is* the outcome of consensus, so it's a good place to go to find out what an acceptable approach is to editing Wikipedia (it's not just a list of arbitrary rules). I like the idea of going for the spirit of the rules, 5 pillars, ignore all rules if what you're doing makes Wikipedia "better", etc., but those all require a fair amount of flexible interpretation and are subject to personal bias, and can lead to extensive argumentation. So, to some extent, the more that can be codified, the better. The issue I posed about interpretation was genuine and practical, related to a real-life experience where I had to defend (in a discussion with multiple senior editors) the use of external links to online source in a Publications section *even when nothing in the MOS* states they're not allowed. Any attempt to personally claim that something violates "consensus" or "proper Wikipedia approach" is somewhat meaningless without some explicit documentation that consensus has been previously reached on that issue; without that, it's too likely that the claim is just an expression of a personal preference. Finney1234 (talk) 22:15, 7 September 2019 (UTC)

Proposal to remove the prohibition on fair use images in draft space[edit]

Per WP:NFCCP, "Non-free content is allowed only in articles (not disambiguation pages), and only in article namespace, subject to exemptions".

The prohibition on the inclusion of fair use images in draft space is not well-grounded in copyright law. Fair use permits the re-use of copyright-protected materials for certain purposes, including critical commentary and education, both purposes claimed by Wikipedia in using these images in article space. Such use must also be minimal in terms of the portion of the original work used, and must tend to avoid diminishing the market value of the original. Use of such images in a draft for an article is no less critical or educational than their use in article space, provided that the draft has at least some minimal amount of explanation of the subject, such that the image serves to illustrate this explanation. In practice, articles in mainspace can be lacking in textual support for fair use images to the same degree that drafts might be. In fact, it could be argued that the use of such images in draft space is even more squarely a fair use of an otherwise permissible fair use image, because the draft is less visible to readers, reducing the opportunities for the use to diminish the value of the original work.

On the flip side, allowing fair use images in draft space would make it easier for editors engaged in drafting to see how the article will appear with images arranged as desired, and to demonstrate more precisely how the draft would appear if promoted to article status. I propose that the prohibition on fair use images in draft space be replaced by a more nuanced approach allowing the inclusion of such images in drafts that are well-developed enough to include fair use images in support of existing textual content. bd2412 T 21:14, 4 September 2019 (UTC)

We are purposely more stricter than fair use per the Wikimedia Foundation. The whole basis of WP:NFCC is to outline why we are more strict, because our goal is to be a free content, and recognize that some non-free is necessary. We do not allow in non-free outside of main article space because that is not material being used in conjunction with the education content.
Yes, prepping a draft with images is a smart idea, but there are other ways to do this without non-free; using a free image of the same dimensions and appearance as the non-free ones you want, placeholder image banks, etc. There's just no good reason to weaken NFCC to allow this use. --Masem (t) 21:40, 4 September 2019 (UTC)
It would be very convenient, and a good reason is not required to relax NFCC. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 22:01, 4 September 2019 (UTC)
Given that NFCC is a requirement from the Foundation, we need a very damn good reason to relax NFCC. --Masem (t) 03:18, 5 September 2019 (UTC)
NFCC was created as a policy before draftspace existed. Of course it makes more sense not to have fair use content on user pages, talk pages, and in project space, but draft space is merely the space where articles are started, which (primarily) used to be started as stubs or drafts in mainspace. For all the purposes for which the fair use policy matters, draft space is a functional equivalent of article space. bd2412 T 03:24, 5 September 2019 (UTC)
NFCC is not fair use, it is purposely stricter. It is wrong to think NFCC is a fair use policy - it incorporates concepts of fair use, but we have "non-free content" which strives to minimize non-free works except where they are essential. They are not essential on draft pages that are going to be in main space at some point. --Masem (t) 03:32, 5 September 2019 (UTC)
They are no less essential in draftspace where articles are being put together and evaluated for promotion to mainspace than they are for the same article-building activities being carried out in mainspace. Substituting a placeholder is no answer when the determination needs to be made of how the page as a whole, in its final form, will look, and whether a particular fair use image suitably fits the page. How are we to collaborate on questions like that? bd2412 T 03:42, 5 September 2019 (UTC)
Draft space is not meant to get an article to a final form, but to a sufficiently developed form that it will be in no danger of deletion and that editors can expand on. Image precision at that stage is absolutely unnecessary. And people did just fine without NFCC in user-space drafts before Draft: space was introduced. --Masem (t) 04:09, 5 September 2019 (UTC)
Personally, I understand the restriction on namespace as one of logistics. Obviously drafts are articles under NFCC#9, they just aren't in mainspace. By restricting where the files can be, it makes it easier to find inappropriate non-free content by just browsing the category and looking for stuff outside main. Any change would probably disrupt a lot of workflows, and I think it's better to have as few instances of non-free content as possible. In many cases {{External media}} would probably work well as a substitute. Wug·a·po·des​ 03:02, 5 September 2019 (UTC)
We certainly have no problem now removing fair use images from draftspace in short order. With only a few tens of thousands of draftspace pages (compared to several million articles), and most draftspace pages having no images at all, I am not at all concerned that this will impact workflows or present logistical difficulties. bd2412 T 03:10, 5 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose as an undesirable step towards draftspace hosting a shadow encyclopedia. If it is established that there is a notable topic with sourced material that benefits from a non-free image, move it to mainspace. Illustrations do not make the difference between keeping and deleting at AfD. Effort going into fair use arguments in draftspace will be a distraction from the very limited valid purpose of draftspace. —SmokeyJoe (talk) 04:07, 5 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Wrong forum. WP:NFCCP is based on this WMF resolution, which is not subject to modification by consensus anywhere on Wikipedia. Use of non-free content in drafts would be neither use in "articles" nor use that is "minimal". VQuakr (talk) 04:18, 5 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Support As Masem has already pointed out, NFCC is not a violation of WP:NFCCP, but our implementation of it, and NFCC is not a violation of fair use, it is much stricter than it. There is no distinction between the use of an image in the draftspace or the mainspace except in NFCC, and use in the draftspace is not be any less minimal than the same use in the mainspace. Hawkeye7 (discuss) 05:27, 5 September 2019 (UTC)
    • Draft space is very much different from mainspace, as it is not indexed by Google, nor a default space searched by the standard search bar here. Because drafts can remain around indefinitely, but not been seen by anyone unless you know you are looking into a draft space article, nonfrees would not be used by actual readers. As such, they would fail NFCC#9 which is tied to the WMF resolution as being associated with education content (eg the stuff we have in mainspace that can be indexed and searched on). --Masem (t) 05:37, 5 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose no policy-based reason to relax NFCC has been offered; if one doesn't approve, may I suggest one takes it up with the relevant parties. ——SerialNumber54129 06:01, 5 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose For a draft to pass our inclusion standards one needs an article that is properly referenced and contains sufficient information, one does not need an article that looks good (yes, an image tells more than a thousand words, but I doubt that one could pass a AfC by just having an image ..). And I don't think that inclusion of such an image is justified on an article that in itself overall is not justified to be in mainspace (and lets be honest, not all AfCs will pass that bar). AfCs are, by definition, not ready (yet) for public, the image can be included when they are ready for public (i.e., when/if they are actually moved to mainspace, include them at the same time as you enable the categorisation). --Dirk Beetstra T C 06:06, 5 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose for the reasons above. Draftspace is for the development of articles - fair use images can easily be added in once the article is quality enough to be in mainspace. We have stricter rules than general copyright laws and we have good reasons for this, restricting them to help the layout of draft articles is not a good enough justification IMO. 06:11, 5 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose- What exactly would be meant by a "well-developed" article? Such a regulation would be difficult to develop, and would be yet another thing to enforce for meagre benefit. One already has the option to preview their articles/edits before submission, and Wikipedia's image syntax is not that complex, especially for newcomers who are likely to be using it in a basic manner. They could easily leave a redlink or use a free image of a similar size as an placeholder until their article is developed. Also, as others have said, it would probably not be feasible even if it was a good idea due to WMF regulation. - Axisixa T C 02:46, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose simply because the presence of images in a draft has no bearing on whether the draft is approved, and so lifting this prohibition does not further the goal of creating an encyclopedia. Since there is no deadline anyway, it's not a problem at all if they images are uploaded after the draft is approved. I also find it incredibly helpful to be able to tell draft creators, especially the new ones, to stop worrying about how to upload a logo since they can't do it yet anyway, please focus on the issues that will prevent the draft from being published, logo or not. Someguy1221 (talk) 02:58, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Support though I know it's hopeless. If everyone stays far away from the borderlines on fair use, those borderlines will contract in favor of copyright holders, and that is a bad outcome. Similarly for the claim that the blocker is WMF policy which we can't change — maybe we can't, but we shouldn't be proactively interpreting that policy in a more anti-fair-use key than the Foundation will insist on, and we don't know what they'll insist on before we try it. --Trovatore (talk) 03:55, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
    • "borderlines will contract in favor of copyright holders"? But only on Wikipedia, or are you thinking this Wikipedia decision will have wider world implications? Wikipedia is deliberately averse to fair use because Wikipedia is intended to be freely re-usable, which means you can pull details and freely re-use, but this is broken by details being fair-use, the re-users has to similarly make the fair use argument, and that is not freely re-usable. --SmokeyJoe (talk) 04:06, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
      • I am thinking about the latter case, the wider implications (not "world" necessarily; fair use sensu stricto being a US legal notion, but even just the US is pretty important, I think). I understand the "re-use" argument but I don't see this as being as important as some do. In practice, Wikipedia is not really "re-used" that much. It's mirrored quite a lot, not sure why given that the mirrors typically add little value. Genuine re-use seems like something of a niche concern to me. It was an important part of the original rationale but has not really played out in practice. --Trovatore (talk) 16:18, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
        • Leaving aside that mirroring (*) is re-use from a licensing perspective, a few obvious commercial re-uses come to mind. People make print-on-demand books out of Wikipedia articles and sell them online (can't imagine too many sales occurring, but I guess the cost-benefit ratio is excellent). More notably, Google and Amazon re-use Wikipedia content in its search results (home assistants for both, plus web-based for Google). isaacl (talk) 16:47, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
        • (*) As to why it's done? Ads. isaacl (talk) 16:52, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
          • Sure, mirroring and other automated quasi-transclusions are "reuse" from a legal perspective, but I don't think they're "reuse" in the sense of the vision that was hoped for. I think that was more about creative, transformative reuse. I don't know why we particularly care about the more trivial sorts of reuse. Certainly we don't want to enforce (or even have the option to enforce) IP claims against them ourselves, at least as long as the reusers comply with the license, but their interactions with third parties strike me as more "not our problem". --Trovatore (talk) 18:40, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
            • One example of transformative re-use is the explainer videos out there that rely heavily on Wikipedia for its information. I do think extracting reference works based on Wikipedia articles is a type of transformation, albeit one already served by the Wikibooks project. There are two reasons to be concerned, one legal, and one philosophical. Legally, it is a violation of license to allow an incorporated work that only permits re-licensing for non-commercial purposes to be re-used for any purpose, as Wikipedia's license does. Accordingly, it is desirable to ensure the violation is as narrow as possible to ensure that an appropriate fair use rationale will apply. Philosophically, the Wikimedia Foundation has set the goal for Wikipedia to be freely re-usable by anyone, agnostic of their purpose or the degree of transformation. To disclaim any responsibility for ensuring the licenses of incorporated works are respected by re-users would be a barrier for re-use. isaacl (talk) 21:20, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
              • Your argument about violating a license doesn't make much sense to me. As I understand it, Wikipedia never relies on a "non-commercial" license. Fair use is a defense against assertions of copyright infringement, period; we don't need no stinkin' license, as we're just using the material in spite of copyright, which is what fair use is for. The fact that some incompatible license may also exist is irrelevant; we aren't relying on it at all.
                As to the philosophical point, well, that's the one I'm saying isn't that important. This is of course a normative claim, and one that people may disagree with. --Trovatore (talk) 21:35, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
                • Fair use is a defense, but the fact would remain that Wikipedia incorporated a work into it and provided licensing terms to use Wikipedia that are incompatible with the licensing terms of the original work. For example, if a work is licensed for non-commercial re-use, it would mean Wikipedia violated the licence terms and so is no longer eligible to use that licence. To ensure that the fair use defense is sound, strict guidelines on how to use the non-free work have been proscribed by the community.
                • Wikipedia could choose not to provide any re-use licence at all and, as you say, leave it to the third parties to decide if Wikipedia was re-usable. But the practical effect would be to vitiate the goal of enabling its contents to be freely available to all. isaacl (talk) 22:27, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
                  • The licensing terms of the original work, for fair-use content, are completely irrelevant because we are not relying on them. We never rely on an incompatible license at all, in any way. It's exactly the same as if the original work were not licensed at all (and indeed much fair-use content is not licensed at all). --Trovatore (talk) 22:36, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
                    • Leaving aside the original purpose of this discussion thread, which is broadening the restrictions on using non-free content, yes, the licence is not relevant for the mere use of the work within Wikipedia. But Wikipedia provides a licence to re-use Wikipedia, and the licence of the work being incorporated is relevant for Wikipedia's licence. isaacl (talk) 22:48, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
                      • No, it isn't relevant for that purpose. The work being incorporated on a fair-use rationale is simply used without permission. It is not used subject to the license under which it was released. It is exactly the same as if it had no original license at all. --Trovatore (talk) 22:55, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
                        • That's not really correct. Our ( use of non-free ends up under US fair use allowances which are arguably some of the loosest in the world. If someone were to come around and reuse our content including the non-frees, they would have to review all the original non-free images and check their licenses if they have special ones (like CC-BY-NC) that may restrict their use. Or you go to a country like Germany where fair use is more restrictive. Our goal per the WMF and NFCC is to get people to keep in mind to minimize the use of non-free as much as possible, so that our content is as reusable as possible. It's not just being jerks about it, but trying to install this philosophy of asking when non-free is necessary, when it can be replaced by free content, and when it is not necessary at all. And from past experience, there is no need for non-free in draft space; images can be added after the draft is moved, or if image placement is really important, you can use placeholder images or things like imageframe that give fixed dimensions for what you know you will be adding and so forth. A draft does not need to be picture-perfect before it is accepted, as the point of the draft is to make sure it is a encyclopedic article first with proper sourcing , after whihc it is moved can be improved to be visually interesting. --Masem (t) 00:02, 7 September 2019 (UTC)
                          • Let me put it this way. If content has a non-commercial or otherwise non-free license, this is not worse for re-users than if it has no license at all. And we do allow fair use of content that has no license at all. Do you agree with those two points? I think they're pretty much inarguable.
                            Therefore it is beside the point to bring up the license of the original work. --Trovatore (talk) 00:39, 7 September 2019 (UTC)
                            • Sure, all non-free content (either with an explicit licence or with no licence available) is a potential problem with respect to Wikipedia's license. I apologize for eliding my points to primarily discuss works with a licence that permits non-commercial re-use. isaacl (talk) 05:57, 7 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Support – oddly, for many of the same reasons others oppose: in short, it's harmless. As has been pointed out, the issue isn't copyright law but NFCC, which is stricter. Allowing editors to have non-free images on "well developed" drafts ("well developed" meaning, to me, that the image in the draft would be compliant with NFCC if the draft was in mainspace) in no way frustrates or impedes the purpose of having free content. The content in draftspace is less accessible to the reader, and isn't designed to be part of the free content that WP gives away. Prohibiting in draftspace what is allowed in mainspace is akin to saying you can hang a picture in the storefront but you can't bring it to the back room. It makes no sense to prohibit it; it would make things easier to allow it; I have no idea if we can actually amend NFCC or not, but I support the proposal. Levivich 04:42, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
    • The problem is that Drafts are not always moved to mainspace or subsequently deleted, aka the "shadow" state talked about above. NFC will linger in those articles completely against NFCC#3 (minimal use) and NFCC#9 (main space only). People have able to develop drafts just fine without non-free until th article is moved into mainspace just fine. There are ways to drop placeholders and the like if you really need to check on image layouts. --Masem (t) 04:45, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
      • I see each of those points differently. I don't think "minimal use" under NFCC or legal definitions has anything to do with how long the work exists (does it?). If the use is minimal in the article, it doesn't matter if the article is published online for one day or 100 years, it's still minimal use. Same for drafts; it doesn't matter if they're around forever, if the use is minimal in the draft. As for NFCC#9, well, this proposal is to change it (isn't it?). As for "just fine", meh, they all had to wait until the draft was in mainspace before being able to put in the non-free image (and mess with its layout). As for placeholder images, kind of a pain in the ass, won't cover every possible dimension, won't show color (vis-a-vis other free images, or colored tables). Sure, we can get by without it, but we can also get by without reply-link. But why would you want to? :-) But the real point for me is that if we made this change to NFCC#9 (main space only), it doesn't make the content any less free than it was before. I can see no reason to prohibit brining pictures into the "back room". Levivich 05:01, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
        • And that type of argument is the slippery slope that NFCC#9 is meant to prevent happening. So it might seem okay in draft space, but I can then see someone going "Oh, but I use my user page sandbox for my drafts, I should be able to use it there". And then you'll get "Oh, I should be able to use one non-free on my user page." and so one. The point of NFCC is to get editors to minimize the amount of non-free imagery and only use it when it is appropriate, and that's based on the WMF resolution, when it is used in main space. The idea that there's no harm in having these in the back room is just not correct because it shows no effort to continually reduce non-free use. --Masem (t) 05:44, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
          • You know that the first line of our article on the slippery slope defines it as "a logical fallacy". Otherwise, we couldn't let people eat eggs, because soon we'd have to let them eat babies. bd2412 T 00:10, 7 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Support. This will make articles require less maintenance when they are moved to article-space. —pythoncoder (talk | contribs) 12:40, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Our non-free content policy is based on wmf:Resolution:Licensing policy, which says that the policy "must be minimal" in its allowance of non-free use. Our policy reflects this by saying that one of its purposes is "[t]o minimize legal exposure by limiting the amount of non-free content". Not allowing non-free content in Draft space works to this end. – Finnusertop (talkcontribs) 12:53, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
    • "Minimiz[ing] legal exposure" is precisely the problem. If everyone minimizes legal exposure when considering fair use, fair use will shrink and shrink and eventually vanish, and an important counterweight to copyright overreach will be gone. --Trovatore (talk) 20:56, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
      • There is a difference in saying "you may only use non-free in this one specific namespace to minimize where non-free can be used" to "zeroing out all non-free" --Masem (t) 20:59, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
        • Not the point. I'm not so much worried about anyone trying to get rid of fair use in at the current time. I'm worried about the effect on the legal environment. Courts uphold fair-use defenses when they look like other things that are customarily considered fair use. If we don't keep some pressure on the customs, then fewer uses will be seen as customary, and eventually it may be very hard to win a fair-use case. Wikipedia is one of the big players that can help prevent that from happening. --Trovatore (talk) 21:07, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose for the reasons given above. Wikipedia takes copyright very seriously, and although I may be something of an image carnivore myself non-mainspace fair-use is a huge no-no. Even without copyright concerns there's the chance that this would turn Wikipedia into a web host of non-free content without the burden of providing encyclopedic content, contra NOTWEBHOST. – John M Wolfson (talkcontribs) 22:29, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose - As much as I would like something like this, I'm not sure we can make a case for anything not in the mainspace to be "fair use" of images. It promotes new users (and lots of experienced ones) to upload anything to wikipedia, and put it as fair use in draft space. Maintaining that the article is actually about that, could be very difficult in someone's sandbox, or userspace. Best Wishes, Lee Vilenski (talkcontribs) 22:37, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose No good reason for this change has been given ("it would be convenient" definitely isn't one) and it would cause more issues with non-free overuse than we have now. Black Kite (talk) 00:28, 7 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose: Draft space has a legitimate purpose. It is not required that a subject pass GNG in draft, but the intent is for future creation of articles. There are drafts where there is activity and those with none. Apparently there is no actual "timeline" but a "trigger" would be inactivity if it can be adopted and otherwise moved. At some point there is a reasonable expectation that a draft will be either moved to article space (by the creator or someone else), or submitted to AFC. The potential of the second is a concern regarding "fair use images in draft space". A reviewer may not have the time to specifically focus attention on one or more images and this may hinder creation at best. If there are concerns over the use of an image, and I don't have the time, I will simply comment and move on. The submission may otherwise look like a perfectly good candidate if not for image concerns. I cannot see where the use in draft is a direction that benefits Wikipedia. Otr500 (talk) 12:35, 7 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose, this would just result in more nonfree images to check for appropriateness and a more complex process in doing so. (Currently, if a nonfree image is used outside mainspace, the answer to its appropriateness is an immediate "No".) It would also result in hosting nonfree media for months which never actually serves to be used on a mainspace article, and create additional work for cleanup of drafts which don't make it to mainspace as then nonfree images will have to be tagged and removed as well. Eliminating the rather minuscule amount of effort to utilize "placeholder" images or HTML comments and replace them with the nonfree images once in mainspace is not worth putting that substantial amount of extra work on everyone else. (And of course, if someone gives careful thought to whether they actually need to use nonfree material in the article at all, consider that a bonus.) Seraphimblade Talk to me 20:23, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Oppose. Our use of non-free content is deliberately minimal. Displaying non-free images in draft articles might be nice or convenient, but it's completely unnecessary. We're also better off avoiding any work or debate evaluating or policing the use of non-free images in draft space. This particularly includes the requirement that non-free file pages include extensive rationales for each page where the image is used. We're better off avoiding the mess of adding, policing, and cleaning up these kinds of rationales on file pages. Alsee (talk) 21:22, 15 September 2019 (UTC)

Content disputes and block evasion[edit]

Hello. Suppose that an article's content is being disputed, but the content was added by a block-evading sockpuppet. Which takes precedence - WP:DENY/WP:BANREVERT, or WP:DISPUTE? The Grand Delusion(Send a message) 06:04, 6 September 2019 (UTC)

Once a good faith user reinstates a change made by a banned user, reverting it is no longer a BANREVERT. Someguy1221 (talk) 07:58, 6 September 2019 (UTC)
Comment: context for what I'm talking about - Talk:List of music considered the worst#Further discussion. The Grand Delusion(Send a message) 23:38, 7 September 2019 (UTC)
See the response above. Many other editors have reinstated and altered the content since the banned editor wrote it. You are the only person out of 10+ participants who are still stuck on this. Please get a clue and WP:DROPTHESTICK. Sergecross73 msg me 01:41, 8 September 2019 (UTC)
Let's see. Looking at the article's history, since the issue began a year ago far more people have tried to remove the entry than keep it, as most of the reverts re-adding it have been either a bot, the banned troll (or "editor" as you like to call him) and you. By the by, nice use of WP:DROPTHESTICK; a favorite essay repeatedly named dropped by the banned "editor" [20][21][22] 2600:1700:B280:B1C0:401:9D0D:384D:6176 (talk) 09:43, 9 September 2019 (UTC).
We don’t gauge consensus by digging through page histories, we do it through discussion. And the latest RFC had no consensus for removal. And are you insinuating that there’s something suspicious about two editors citing STICK? Yeah, nice try. That’s extremely widely cited concept. Did we both cite WP:V and WP:ATD-M too? Give me a break. Sergecross73 msg me 19:10, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
"Many other editors have reinstated and altered the content since the banned editor wrote it," then "We don’t gauge consensus by digging through page histories". Can you try to keep a track on what you're saying. Your "many other editors have reinstated" is pretty much just you and the troll, and as for the multiple editors altering the content, they only did so in an effort to balance the content in accordance with WP:NPOV and try to bring about a compromise since you won't let it be removed. And is anyone shocked than an RFC ended in "no consensus" when one of the two people dead set on keeping it as is voted multiple times under sockpuppet accounts.
And I'm not saying you and the troll in question are the same person, just that your agendas align strikingly too much to the point that not only do your tactics overlap, but you seem to be purposefully downplaying his actions. Despite long term abuse going back years, you referrer to him as an "editor" while everyone else referrers to him as what he rightly is, a troll. And while everyone else sees his addition to the article for what it is (trolling), you won't even acknowledge that fact. Lastly, if you look at the article's history, and you go all through the talk archives, you will see that far more people have tried to remove the entry than keep it, as for the past year there have really only been two people regularly, continuously working to ensure it remains on the list: the troll and you. You don't acknowledge the troll for what he is, you don't acknowledge his actions for what they are, you work regularly to keep the spirit of his actions alive, and you've come extremely close to WP:OWN with List of music considered the worst by making yourself a de facto guru and talking down to anyone who disagrees with you because "I edit this list regularly!" (so much so that you were finally called out about it, but of course you had to throw in one last knowitall-ism on your way out the door). 2600:1700:B280:B1C0:81B7:9ADA:FA2B:E566 (talk) 20:53, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
Yes yes, you lot love to make me out to be the bad guy, like I’m the cause of all your complaints, but the fact is, I’ve sat out those content disputes for the entire month of September, and they’re no closer to a resolution than when I was actively participating. I can’t tell if you’re honestly believe everything you’re typing, or if it’s just trying to gaslight me, but its not just me here, I’m merely the one who responds to you all the most. And with that, I’ll step away from here now as well, as the answer has already been given to this question, an this is all just spiraling off-topic again. Sergecross73 msg me 21:55, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
I kinda feel like the issue of DISPUTE vs DENY hasn't really been touched upon. I want as many editors as possible to weigh in on this. The Grand Delusion(Send a message) 01:47, 8 September 2019 (UTC)
WP:DENY is about vandalism. One should presume that if a good-faith editor is vouching for an edit, it isn't vandalism.
It feels, though, that you have a particular situation in mind – people might be able to give more useful feedback if you pointed to it so we can see an example. Caeciliusinhorto (talk) 15:35, 8 September 2019 (UTC)
@Caeciliusinhorto: Well, let's say that a suspected IP sockpuppet of of The abominable Wiki troll added an entry to List of music considered the worst, but the edit was removed/reinstated multiple times since its addition.
Statement made on article's talk page
Per evidence I had gathered, the IP address that re-added the entry back in September 2018 (WHOIS info here, edit here) and an IP address cited in an ANI discussion ("Community ban for User:The abominable Wiki troll"; WHOIS info here) share the same geolocation information - both are assigned to Sky UK broadband, based in the UK. Other IPs coming from there that have edited the page around the same time include ([23]) and ([24]). The entry was previously added back in 2014 by User:Trying to envelop, a blocked sockpuppet of User:The abominable Wiki troll, as shown here. Another blocked sockpuppet of The abominable Wiki troll, User:Goblinostic, defended the album's inclusion in the edit summary for this edit and in this talk page discussion. The relevant SPI case files are here and here.
The Grand Delusion(Send a message) 18:56, 8 September 2019 (UTC)
For those unfamiliar with the situation, here is the CliffNotes version: Several years ago The Abominable Wiki Troll added The Beatles' album Sgt. Pepper to List of music considered the worst , and it was removed as people felt it shouldn't be there since it regularly appears on various Greatest and/or Most Influential Albums of All Time lists (very often coming in around #1). Just over one year ago an IP re-added it to the list, using the same sources from when it was originally listed. Due to the fact the "Worst Music" list has an unbelievably weak criteria (right now all that is required for inclusion is a single person calling the album/song the "worst"), edits trying to remove the entry (and there have been many) are constantly reverted with the rational "you need to get a consensus first". In February, an RFC was launched to reach such a consensus, and after two months and dozens of editors participating, it was closed as "no consensus" and the entry forced to remain. It was subsequently discovered that not only was AWT one of the two main editors arguing to keep Sgt. Pepper on the list, but he voted multiple times under different sockpuppet accounts (ironically he insinuated multiple IPs voting to remove the album were sockpuppets and said the RFC was tainted). Upon further investigation by Grand Delusion, it was discovered AWT was the IP who re-added Sgt. Pepper to the list and started the whole mess. However, despite the fact the entry was added by a user evading a ban (WP:BANREVERT), and added to the list (and continually re-added) as an act of trolling (WP:DENY), attempts to remove the entry are still being reverted. 2600:1700:B280:B1C0:401:9D0D:384D:6176 (talk) 09:43, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
Yes, and it’s been re-added and altered many times by unrelated editors in good faith since this ban-evading editor added it. Which is why it’s not appropriate to deleted from the article. This is just a poor attempt at Wiki-lawyering their way into getting their way in the dispute. Luckily most editors on both sides of the dispute realize this isn’t the right way to be going about it. Sergecross73 msg me 15:49, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
Looking at the history page, the only editors that have re-added the entry in the last year are you, the troll's Sockpuppets, and Popcornduff (which re-added it since there were discussions ongoing, not because he was in favor per-se of the album being on the list). So where are the so called editors that have re-added the entry in good-faith? All I see is the work of a troll and an admin who supports his obvious troll work. (By the way, as noted by 2600:1700:B280:B1C0:401:9D0D:384D:6176 up there, both of you write in a very similar way...) WKMN? Later [ Let's talk ] 17:01, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
We’re not just talking about reverts. There was a massive RFC with a ton of participants that ended in a no consensus split, with half favoring inclusion. They count too. The banned editor was not every single one of the many who fell on the inclusion side. (I’ll again warn you of casting WP:ASPERSIONS. You’ve only gotten away with that in the past because so few people noticed it. Not the same case here at VP. Don’t make baseless accusations. I have no sock puppets. And I certainly didn’t operate two accounts, one to adminship, the other to a site ban. That doesn’t even make any sense.) Sergecross73 msg me 19:10, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
Ok, let's count to see if you're telling the truth. Let's check how many voted in favor of keeping Pepper in the list of worst music, and how many voted against it. RFC link here.
In favor:
  • SummerPhDv2.0
  • Sergecross73
  • Micky Moats (Sockpuppet)
  • Ilovetopaint
  • (blocked IP due to vandalism)
  • Noelrock (Sockpuppet)
  • BLZ
  • Tosk Albanian
  • 2A02:C7F:8E93:DF00:857B:F747:3D05:225 (blocked IP due to vandalism)
  • Herostratus
  • Jayron32
  • A Quest For Knowledge
  • WKMN? Later
  • GenQuest
  • Rjrya395
  • Indynotes
  • Hunter Kahn
  • LM2000
  • Curly "JFC" Turkey
So that's 11 votes in favor, from which 2 were sockpuppets, and 2 others were trolling accounts that ended up being blocked. That leaves 7 valid votes to keep Pepper on the list. Against 11 votes against. And yet you defend that "half" of the RFC voters were in favor of keeping Pepper. That's not taking into account the rest of the discussions in the talk page, in which many editors are against keeping Pepper on the list, and you're the only one who's in favor (you and... the troll, of course.) Also, I'm not accusing you of anything, I'm just stating the facts. Sockpuppets were trolling to keep Pepper on the list, and you agreed with them. I've still not read a valid reason to keep Pepper on the list, other than "DROPTHESTICK", and "other good faith editors", and "get consensus". WKMN? Later [ Let's talk ] 20:04, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
Great, but we’re not rehashing that dispute in yet another venue. We’re discussing BANREVERT application. And as you’ve just pointed out, there were 7 good-faith editors who were in favor of inclusion. And that’s a reason why the content isn’t being auto-deleted. Thank you for digging that up and clearing that up for me. Sergecross73 msg me 20:13, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
And there were 11 who were against. The RFC conclusion was invalid - its results were tampered. There are everyday more editors that are against putting Pepper on the list, than there are in favor (I feel I'm explaining this to a five year old: an album which is considered the best of all times had its couple of detractors; that doesn't make it a candidate for a worst music list). Since it's been discovered that the entry was added by the troll, and when people deleted it, it was reverted by the troll, and when the RFC was made the troll voted for its inclusion on the list, and many, many more editors are against putting Pepper on the list; we could change our logic. The current logic is: "Pepper is on the list. If you want it removed, get consensus." It should be the other way, since Pepper being on the list has been defended by the troll and opposed by many more editors. It should be: "Pepper is not on the list, because of its universal appraisal. If you want it on the list, get consensus." I'm sure many, many more editors would agree with this instead of the current politic. WKMN? Later [ Let's talk ] 20:24, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
Have you read the section you’re commenting in? This discussion is not about the closing of that RFC. Sergecross73 msg me 20:36, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
I know. It was just a suggestion. I'll be happy to suggest it elsewhere, when it's appropriate. WKMN? Later [ Let's talk ] 20:41, 9 September 2019 (UTC)

BOT linking to possible copyrighted sources[edit]

I have observed the IABot (v2.1alpha3) linking to archive copies of books that appear to copyrighted at, needs a registration there to be views. Wikipedia:Bots/Requests for approval/InternetArchiveBot 3 seems at least partially related. Quoting from Cyberpower678's User:Cyberpower678 (who has at least at some point received payment for the bot, no problem with that) : "User:InternetArchiveBot: A basic AI bot that is a subset of Cyberbot II. Its sole purpose is to combat WP:LINKROT." (It does this excellently in my opinion). The copyright status of "Internet archives" is unclear and I would have concerns if WP:COPYLINK applied in part. Referring to web pages in the Internet archive that were publicly available is one thing ... and a manually url link may be one thing ... but a BOT determining to link to likely copyrighted resources may be another and it may be promotion of one some (With a registration that could be monetarised?). I confess to being out of my depth and there but an example is [25] though I have no clue as to the copyright status of the book.Djm-leighpark (talk) 13:49, 8 September 2019 (UTC)

Yes, I've seen a lot of these edits. Book titles in references are being converted into links to where you can "borrow" the book from the Open Library if that library has a scanned copy of the corresponding ISBN available. They get their "copies" often from university libraries who have donated the scan of a book which they also remove from physical circulation. I think the books are in copyright (or else they would be on unrestricted access). A book preview is available and one person at a time may access a complete, time-limited scan. Wonderful for Wikipedia and really helpful. However, the activity seems to have little to do with WP:LINKROT because there is (so far as I have seen) no prior link to go rotten. Is the Open Library behaving lawfully and, if not, should we not allow linking to it? Our article Open Library seems helpful on the copyright matter and I haven't found significant references that are more recent. The copyright situation is in doubt and I'd be surprised if the matter doesn't reach the courts. I believe libraries pay over the retail price so they may lend print books so maybe this is just what they are doing. Thincat (talk) 15:56, 8 September 2019 (UTC)
I am confused because do you mean linking to books (ie. Google Books,, etc.) or linking to webarchives ie., etc..? They are completely different things. One is a scanned image of a book page, the other is a web archive. There is no such thing as a "archived copy of a book". The books on Internet Archive are library copies and loaned out to patrons like any library. The scanned books have a 1:1 ratio of physical book to loaned digital copy ie. for each loaned digital copy there is a physical copy owned by Internet Archive. They are not "archived books". The copyright clearance for showing snippits (a page or two) is the same used by Google for GoogleBooks which has extensive court precedent. -- GreenC 16:20, 8 September 2019 (UTC)
  • I apologize for by poor way of putting this. I am talking about linking to where scanned image of a book is held. Such as [[26]]. Without registration there is a preview. I have not been beyond registration but assume there is a scanned version beyond the registration. From what GreenC says there is a 1:1 on physical/loan copy so copyright issues are overcome/avoided/satisfied by this mechanism. There may be a question of directing the web link at this library by a bot there is a promotion of library given the isbn link [27] should be the link to resources (does this link to an link)? Please remember also from one angle I see a declared paid editor promoting their coi source ... that isn't wrong but it means the scrutiny level needs to higher. If everyone is happy and its just silly stupid me then thats fair enough.Djm-leighpark (talk) 17:40, 8 September 2019 (UTC)
    I thought your question was perfectly reasonable which is why I spent some time replying. Indeed, thank you for your question. The Open Library is one aspect of the Internet Archive and we have huge numbers of archive links to the latter, I think uncontroversially. However, the Open Library is in greater doubt from a copyright point of view and we have had far fewer links to it. My own view is that the paid editor aspect is, in this case, not relevant and I think it very highly unlikely indeed that the Open Library would (or even could?) be monetised. For me WP:COPYLINK is the primary issue. Thincat (talk) 19:30, 8 September 2019 (UTC)
    It actually lets you download an (apparently encrypted) pdf if you register and then take a book out on loan - I don't know if the downloaded copy stops working after 14 days or if they are relying on the borrower to delete any copies. If the latter then it would definitely be a copyvio link.Nigel Ish (talk) 19:55, 8 September 2019 (UTC)
    Initial testing shows that it goes through the standard Adobe de-encryption process for encrypted e-book files. (I decided to download an old book I used to own to test it.) Javert2113 (Siarad.|¤) 20:07, 8 September 2019 (UTC)
    And in two weeks you can let us know. · · · Peter Southwood (talk): 01:56, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
Concerning the BOT: I learned a lot and I appreciate that. It also seems I am confused. I have not looked at anything pass what is here but it seems to me there are red flags. Words like "copyright status of "Internet archives" is unclear" and "The copyright situation is in doubt and I'd be surprised if the matter doesn't reach the courts.", and "If the latter then it would definitely be a copyvio link", can cause a double-take and it seems to me that comments drifted away from the subject. Somehow, somewhere in the comments, I would like to have seen a definitive answer like "No! The bot is not linking to copyrighted sources" or something like the bot linking is acceptable "because...".
I somehow missed an answer to BOT linking to possible copyrighted sources. It would seem there could be problems. It would also seem the operator of the bot should be made aware of this, an Admin consulted, the issue raised at Wikipedia:Bots/Noticeboard, or possibly some combination.
I also saw "declared paid editor promoting their coi source". I may have misread this and it may not be an issue for the courts, Open Library, or possibly some other editors, but just the combination of words together presents a problem to me. A "declared paid editor" has severe restrictions on editing so "promoting their coi source" would be an issue.
If I missed something and joined the "silly stupid me" club could someone clarify things a little more? Otr500 (talk) 12:22, 11 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Since I've raised I've noticed a few things and perhaps learnt some things. In particular it blue linked a source at Dún Laoghaire railway station supporting the delay being a result of local opposition in Kingstown which I wasn't happy with and was tempted to check the associated source. ( It relates to Dublin and Kingstown Railway related articles I've been working on recently). I was actually tempted to buy the associated book second hand for about 12 GBP but in the end elected to try the open library/ link. While I only tried the online viewing there were good indications a single user 14-day loan was implemented and there appeared to be a book from Boston Library scanned (and held?) in China? Fasinatinately the isbn link goes to [28] ... which goes to Open Library [29] (OL3033619M) whereas the loan is from [30] (OL22450451M). The bot did not put the 'ol' link in the cite. The ol link seems to give other (US based sources) for the book; the link did not. I'm sort of concerned the link ends me use in rather tha openlibrary and perhaps also that IABot is been used for other than WP:LINKROT. I will comment the paid here is more for a sort of Wikipedia infrastucture friendly paid than for an individual article COI ... so its a bit of a stretch. .... anyway after all this in my weird way I went off and did a wee article on the Author of said link so I'm not sure what to say really.... certainly have learned a bit about open library Djm-leighpark (talk) 21:00, 11 September 2019 (UTC)
    On the note of Open Library, |ol= is supported directly in CS1/2 templates. --Izno (talk) 22:02, 11 September 2019 (UTC)
  • Rightly or wrongly the ol= parameter is not being added to the citation by the bot.Djm-leighpark (talk) 20:35, 12 September 2019 (UTC)

Changing/Adding restriction on moving pages to allow "Pagemovers" to move pagers where right now only admins can do so[edit]

I came upon a request at Uncontroversial Technical Requests to move a page and found that the page was locked for moving so that only admins can move it because the page was moved a few weeks prior because someone jumped the gun. I think that the lockdown of pages should be so that it should also include the PAGEMOVER rights. There are only a few of us and we are granted this right because we are trusted not to abuse it, and we know when to use it. I just think it's one more layer of bureaucracy we can get rid of. Sir Joseph (talk) 14:35, 9 September 2019 (UTC)

I would support this, but edit protection and move protection currently use the same user permissions, so unless the user permissions were unbundled, this would let page movers edit fully protected pages. IffyChat -- 16:04, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
Iffy, the page I was talking about had just move protection on it, not edit protection. Many pages have a special protection that you can edit it but you can't move it because there was a move war but not an edit war. Sir Joseph (talk) 17:35, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
@Sir Joseph: Both of those are controlled by editprotected, this needs to be split so editing and moving are treated differently before this proposal has a chance of achieving consensus. IffyChat -- 17:58, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
Iffy, ok, that makes sense. Sir Joseph (talk) 18:37, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
In general, if protection is no longer necessary, the page should be unprotected - not just actioned over the protection. As to the specific proposal above, if this is for adding (protect) access to extendedmover then I'm against it as access to that function was not something that current extendedmover's were evaluated against. — xaosflux Talk 16:44, 9 September 2019 (UTC)
I concur with Xaosflux on this. Current extendedmover's were not evaluated based on having the ability to move pages that were fully move protected/having the ability to edit fully protected pages (if not unbundled). There is also a lot more room for vandalism (you could even, theoretically, move the Main page with that ability (I know that you can't delete it anymore as an admin, but wonder if they also removed the ability to move you know Xaosflux?. --TheSandDoctor Talk 20:40, 11 September 2019 (UTC)
I'm pretty sure that admins can't move a page with more than 5,000 revisions for the same reason they can't delete them - as moving effectively is a deletion and re-creation? Black Kite (talk) 20:47, 11 September 2019 (UTC)
The enwiki Main Page cannot be deleted or moved, that's correct. As a point of interest, it does not have move more than 5,000 revisions. ~ Amory (utc) 21:03, 11 September 2019 (UTC)
Pages that have 5000+ revisions don't throw the "nope" error that requires 'bigdelete' access - but I'm not about to try to move one :D — xaosflux Talk 21:46, 11 September 2019 (UTC)
Ditto ~ Amory (utc) 21:04, 11 September 2019 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarification, Amorymeltzer! Face-smile.svg. --TheSandDoctor Talk 21:08, 11 September 2019 (UTC)
Chiming in here as I actually had the same thought as the person who opened the discussion, so I poked around the ListGroupRights to see what's possible. As an alternate solution if move protection can't be unbundled from edit protection, there are a few possible options? I noticed that sysops have the "move pages under pending changes (permission being movestable)". Could an additional right perhaps be created that allows moving full protected pages (e.g. moveprotected) that would give them the ability to move these pages but not edit full protected? I agree that the potential for abuse is rather low, there aren't many page movers around and the backlog at RM gets quite large, so if this can be technically implemented I think it's a good idea. Steven Crossin Help resolve disputes! 06:58, 12 September 2019 (UTC)

RfC on user rights of (site) banned users is now underway[edit]

The RfC below was SNOW closed. — xaosflux Talk 14:00, 16 September 2019 (UTC)
The following discussion is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

An RfC relating to user rights of (site) banned users is now underway at Wikipedia:Requests for comment/User rights of (site) banned users. Please feel free to participate! --TheSandDoctor Talk 20:20, 11 September 2019 (UTC)

The discussion above is closed. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page. No further edits should be made to this discussion.

RFC underway regarding proposed inclusion of existing practice in TPE policy[edit]

An RfC regarding the inclusion of the existing practice (at administrator discretion) of granting template editor user rights on a trial/temporary basis in the procedural policy itself is currently underway. --TheSandDoctor Talk 20:14, 14 September 2019 (UTC)

About merging pages...[edit]

I recently happened upon Draft:Domestic Violence in South Korea; the draft was rejected due to there already being an article in mainspace, but Domestic violence in South Korea is a much shorter article. A merge has been suggested but attempting to merge the former into the latter seems a little counterintuitive to me, so how best to go about this:

  1. Cut & paste the draft (more or less as a whole) into mainspace over the existing content, providing attribution in the edit summary; or
  2. Move the pages, making the draft the "new" article and redirecting the old one.

Since the two pages have overlapping history, a history merge (perhaps the ideal option) would not be possible. Just looking for advice on the preferred course of action. PC78 (talk) 09:13, 16 September 2019 (UTC)

Literally whatever's easiest for you, it shouldn't matter. Reywas92Talk 09:40, 16 September 2019 (UTC)

MOS for policy and guideline pages[edit]

I have a proposed MOS for policy and guideline pages in my sandbox. Comments welcome. --Wikiman2718 (talk) 23:38, 17 September 2019 (UTC)

We do not need a MOS to say things everyone who writes PAG-stuff already knows though... --Izno (talk) 00:02, 18 September 2019 (UTC)
It is true that everyone knows these things, but there is a difference between knowing something and having a rule for it. If this proposal passes, editors pushing for better guidelines will be able to cite this page in debates. This should lead to better rule-making. --Wikiman2718 (talk)
Where has there been conflict about the points in your proposed MOS? Were those conflicts about the issues you think need to be covered in the current version of your proposal, or were they about some lost or contradictory (i.e. wrong) meaning or intent? --Izno (talk) 00:21, 18 September 2019 (UTC)
I'd say that there is no conflict over whether or not these rules should be followed. Everyone already agrees that they should. But we include obvious rules in our guidelines all the time. Consider Wikipedia:Do not create hoaxes: I don't think that there is any conflict about whether or not we should allow hoaxes on Wikipedia. Nonetheless, this guideline still exists. There are good reasons for that too. Consider a hypothetical scenario in which two editors disagree about how a guideline should be written. One editor's proposal is shorter and simpler than the other's. If this proposal passes, the editor arguing for the simpler guideline can cite this MOS, making them more likely to win the debate. This will lead to better guidelines. If you want to make a rule against encoding things that everyone already knows in guidelines, you may add that to the proposed MOS. --Wikiman2718 (talk) 00:46, 18 September 2019 (UTC)

Question of using bemil chosun as a reference[edit]

I've been seeing this a lot, being used as a reference material for Korean-related defense article.

Here's the page.

I've seen some URLs that have "bbs" included. Ominae (talk) 01:23, 18 September 2019 (UTC)

Your question is more suited for WP:RSN noticeboard. You can move it there. – Ammarpad (talk) 01:41, 18 September 2019 (UTC)